“Para na kaming isang agila na pumapayagpag. Pinalakas ng 4Ps ang aming mga pakpak para malampasan ang mga darating na hamon sa aming buhay. (We are now like an eagle soaring high. 4Ps strengthened our wings to overcome the trials that will come our way.)”
This is how Merly Clara, 50, from Brgy. Lucero, Bolinao, Pangasinan perceived their life as the household graduates from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
Fight or plight
“Parang ayaw ko nang mabuhay noon. Namatay dahil sa cancer ang anak kong 24 taong gulang noong 2014. Makalipas ang dalawang linggo, namatay naman ang nanay ko. Namatay pa ang dalawa naming baka, kambing, at mga manok (It seems like I do not want to live anymore before. My 24-year old son died because of cancer in 2014. After two weeks, my mother died also. Our two cows, goat, and chickens also perished), Merly reminisced the past and cannot hold back her tears.
One of her children said to her, “May mga anak pa po kayong kailangan kayo (You still have other children who need you). This motivated her to move on. “Nagpakatatag ako para sa aking pamilya (I made myself strong for my family),”Merly said.
Worth fighting for
She was luckily given the chance to be of service to the community as a Barangay Councilor in 2015. “Lahat ng sasahurin ko ay inutang ko para ipambayad sa libing ng nanay ko at pagpapagamot noon ng aking namayapang anak (I loaned my salary to pay our debts due to my mother’s funeral and my deceased son’s medication),” Merly shared.
According to her, “Dahil sa 4Ps, hindi na namin inintindi ng asawa ko ang gastusin sa eskwelahan ng aming mga anak. Kaya nakapag-ipon kami ng pambili ng bangka noong 2012 at 2018 na naging pangunahing kabuhayan namin at napaayos na rin namin ang aming bahay. Dito ko po napatunayang napakahalaga ng pag-iimpok, bagay na natutuhan ko po sa Family Development Session [FDS](Because of 4Ps, me and my husband need not to worry about the school expenses of our children. So, we were able to earn money to buy a small boat in 2012 and 2018 which became our main source of income and was able to repair our house. This is when I realized the importance of having savings which I learned from the FDS).
Making buri bags, necklaces, and other accessories out of sea shells is her way of making a living for her family before becoming a 4Ps beneficiary while his husband was a fisherman. She only earns Php100.00 – Php200.00 per week. “Sobrang saya ko noong natanggap ko ang unang cash grant namin noong November 2008. Napalaking tulong nito at napagaan ang aming kalagayan (I was so glad when I received our first cash grant in November 2008. It was really a huge help to lighten our situation.)”Merly told.
“Pangako ko sa pamahalaan na lalo ko pang paaangatin ang kalidad ng pamumuhay ng aking pamilya. Palalawigin ang aming negosyo at palaguhin nang maigi ang aming naimpok (I promise to the government to futher improve the quality of our life. Flourish more our business and grow our savings),” Merly claimed.She even plans to put up a rice mill in the near future.
When asked what is her secret in achieving a fulfilled life that she can share to other beneficiaries, she said, “Araling mabuti ang pag-iimpok dahil ito ang mag-aangat sa kanila sa kagipitan. Handa akong magbigay ng tulong sa mga nangangailangan. (Learn how to save money because this will lift them from scarcity. I am always ready to give a helping hand to those who are in need).”
“Ipinagmamalaki kong nagtapos na ako bilang benepisyaryo ng 4Ps dahil nakaalpas na sa kahirapan ang aking pamilya. Hindi na kami nangangailangan ng tulong kundi kaya na naming itaguyod ang sarili naming pamilya (I am proud that I already graduated as a 4Ps beneficiary because my family was able to overcome poverty. We no longer need help because we can now manage to sustain our family),” Merly proudly exhorted. (by: Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Information Officer II / Pantawid Pamilya)