“Ang mga pangkukutya sa amin dahil kabilang kami sa mga pamilyang umaasa lang daw sa ibibigay ng pamahalaan ang naging sandata ko sa pagkamit ng tagumpay (The ridicules to us because we are among the families who are assumed to be relying on government’s aid became my weapon to achieve success).” This is a message from Mr. Nathaniel M. Mariano, appointed School Principal of Sta. Rosa Academy of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte Inc., a former Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiary from Dingras, Ilocos Norte.
Nathan, as he is commonly called, is the eldest son of Aniceto, 51 and Analiza Mariano, 47 from Barangay Capasan. His desire of imparting knowledge to the youth and molding them to become responsible citizens by pursuing teaching profession did not come easy. Since his parents are earning minimum income from being a farmer and a vendor, he was burdened on how to hurdle his school expenses. This was worsened when his mother suffered from stroke prior to his enrolment in college.
Rocky Road to Success
Nathan was never disheartened of the discouraging words thrown to his family because of being 4Ps beneficiary. Instead, he considered these as driving force to get himself going and never lose track. He patiently searched for various scholarship programs from the National Government Agencies and Local Government Units. “Isa-isang tumawag ang mga ahensya at opisinang nagpasahan ko ng aking mga requirement na nagsasabing pumasa ako sa kanilang scholarship program (One after the other, the agencies and offices where I submitted my requirements informed me that I am qualified for their scholarship programs). With the numerous scholarship offers he received, he picked the Expanded Students’ Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) which can provide him with full support on school fees, book allowance, and stipend.
“Walang pagsidlan ang aming tuwa at pasasalamat noong mayroon na akong natanggap na iskolarsip dahil maipagpapatuloy ko na ang aking pag-aaral. Pinagbuti ko ang aking pag-aaral dahil alam ko ang hirap ng nangangailangan (We were overjoyed and grateful when I already received a scholarship because I will be able to continue my studies. Thus, I did my very best to study because I know how hard it is to be needy”, Nathan tearfully recalled.
“Taong 2018, nagtapos ako sa kolehiyo. Unti-unti ko nang matutupad ang lahat ng aking mga pangarap sa buhay. Nagsumikap akong makahanap ng trabaho at ako ay pinalad na makapasok sa isang pribadong paaralan (I graduated college in 2018. Little by little, I am fulfilling my aspirations in life. I exerted effort to find a job and I was blessed to be in a private school),” Nathan uttered. Due to perseverance, intelligence, and determination, he was promoted from a regular high school teacher to an Academic Coordinator in just a year of employment. From this, his was favored as he was appointed as the School Principal of Sta. Rosa Academy, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte in May 2022.
Aim it and Claim it
Despite having the highest position in school, Nathan is still aiming for more. Gusto ko pang mas mapasaya pa at mabigyan ng marangyang buhay ang aking mga magulang, Sila ang aking naging gabay sa lahat ng mga tinahak ko sa aking buhay. Higit sa lahat, nais ko ring maibalik sa kapwa kong benepisyaryo ng 4Ps ang magandang nangyari sa aming buhay dahil sa programa (I still want to make my parents happier and to give them a a better life. They have been my guide in all of my life’s journey. And most importantly, I also want to give back to my fellow 4Ps beneficiaries the good things that happened in our life because of the program)”.
Due to the remarkable and sky rocketing achievement of Nathan, his household already exited from the program in 2018.
“Ang 4Ps ay bumuo ng isang malaking pamilyang kahit hindi magkakaano-ano, dito po natin makikitang namamalagi ang tunay na pagmamalasakit, pagmamahal, at pagtutulungan sa kapwa (4Ps formed a big family that may not be related by blood, this is where we can witness that genuine compassion, love, and cooperation to our fellows),” Nathan proudly said as she witnessed the flaming determination of his mother in guiding her members. He has seen how her mother transformed into an effective leader and tried her best to lead her Parent Group in different community activities to prove the wrong notions of few about the program. His mother was an active Parent Leader since 2018.
As the household faces another chapter of their life, they are determined in braving all the challenges to continuously improve their level of well-being. This was the image they have been trying to sustain being a model 4Ps Family after being hailed as the First Runner Up in the Search for Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya 2013. (by: Arlem Kenneth R. Areola, Project Development Officer II- NGA Focal Person)