Ofelia (center) receives the Katibayan ng Pagkilala during the house-to-house Graduation Ceremony on 14June 2022 being awarded by the Municipal Link Kevin Arnold M. Castañeda (3rd from the left) and witnessed by Municipal Roving Bookkeeper Almira B. Jadormio, Parent Leader Federated President Merlyn E. Cañeso (1st and 2nd from the left), LGU Link Kimberly Rose Camposano and Social Welfare Assistant Jane Frances T. Balbalan (5th and 6th from the left).

“Ito ang aking simpleng paraan para maibalik ang kabutihan ng DSWD sa aking pamilya. Ayaw kong talikuran ang DSWD ngayon na kaya na naming tustusan ang aming pangangailangan (It is my simple way of giving back the goodness of DSWD to my family. I do not want to turn my back on DSWD now that we can now manage to sustain our needs).”

These are the words of gratitude by Olivia “Olive” Divina, 22 of Brgy. Pacang, Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur, a former beneficiary of the DSWD Field Office 1 – Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), after being hired as a Social Welfare Assistant (SWA) in San Emilio, Ilocos Sur 4Ps Municipal Operations Office on March 2022.

“Bilang ako ngayon ay isa nang kawani ng 4Ps, nais kong maghatid ng serbisyong higit pa sa serbisyo na naihatid sa aming pamilya. Ipagpapalagay kong araw-araw na oportunidad ang aking pagsisilbi sa programa upang makapaghatid ng serbisyong may malasakit sa mga benepisyaryo na kagaya namin noon (Now that I am already a 4Ps staff, I want to provide and even exceed the services given to my family. I will consider my employment to the program as an opportunity to daily extend compassionate service to the program beneficiaries like us before),” Olive uttered with conviction.

She considered her being a grantee of the Expanded Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) as a gift from above. It is the main reason why she was able to successfully finish her degree Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College on June 2019. Being a grantee was really a great relief for her family, especially her parents, Laureano, 54 and Ofelia, 51 only both earn an average of Php2,000.00 monthly as tenant farmers.

Olive’s parents are proud of her achievements, especially when she decided to join the DSWD FO 1 – 4Ps workforce. Though she is the second among the four children, she took the responsibility of providing for the school expenses of her younger brother, Mark Joshua, who is on his fourth year of taking up Bachelor of Science in Criminology. She also bought electronic gadgets for him and her youngest brother, Christian to help them in their online studies.

Her mother Ofelia shared,“Hindi ko lubos maisip na ang aking anak na si Olive ay isa na rin sa mga taong gumagabay ngayon sa mga tulad naming mahihirap. Wala nang mas sasaya pa para sa isang magulang na makitang lumaki nang maayos ang mga anak. Taas noo kong ipinagmamalaki na ako ay may anak na sundalo nang kahirapan (I can’t even imagine that my daughter Olive is now one of the individuals who guides the poor like us. There is no other greater joy for parents to see their children become successful. I keep my head held high for having a daughter who is a soldier of poverty).”

Divina Family continuously bestows their love and support for one another, despite the numerous challenges that they have encountered. For ten years of being a 4Ps beneficiary, they were able to maximize the support given by the program for the improvement of their quality of life. According to Olive, “Ang tulong at mga oportunidad na ibinahagi ng programa ay dapat bigyan ng respeto sa pamamagitan ng wastong paggamit nito. Sapagkat ang tulong ay mananatili lamang na tulong hangga’t hindi ito tinutumbasan ng determinasyon at pagpupursige (The services and opportunities that the program provided should be given respect through properly using them. An assistance will remain assistance until not coupled with determination and perseverance).” (by: Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Information Officer II/PantawidPamilya)