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From a ‘barong-barong’ to a concrete home

Reaping the results of everyone’s hard work

At 61, Salvacion Castillo still makes her way sweeping the streets in their barangay in Cabuyao City, Laguna Province.  She does not mind the heat nor the dust for three to four hours a day. What matters is she will be able to provide for the needs of her three children.

When she’s done for the day, she’ll go home to their newly-acquired home—a way better improvement from their ‘barong-barong’ where she raised her children all by herself. Whenever she sees this concrete home in this peaceful neighborhood in Brgy. Baclaran, she cannot hide how content she is that they are no longer cramped in a small shanty that was constructed only several steps from a relative’s pig pen.

Though this new home speaks of the improvement of their living condition, Salvacion takes more pride in the combined effort of her family to come this far.

 

Shared commitment

Salvacion animatedly shares her struggles of raising her children, especially after her partner left them while the children were still young.

“Miserable talaga ang buhay namin. Yari sa scrap na plywood ang aming bahay, at nakikikain sa kamag-anak,” Salvacion narrated.

To support her children, she juggled several jobs for more than 17 years already.

“Nung malilit pa ang mga bata, hindi ako makapagtrabaho kasi walang magbabantay sa kanila kaya nakadepende kami sa mga kamag-anak. Pero ‘nung nagtagal, pumasok ako sa paglalabada at maging sa pagtitinda ng gulay at isda,” she added.

Despite their situation, Salvacion is glad that all her children share her dreams of improving their living condition. So even if she struggled to make ends meet, she continued to dream and be an inspiration to her children.

Today, her eldest, Gilbert, is working as a registered nurse. Josephine, her second, is in 4th year college taking up Secondary Education. Jenny Ann, the youngest, is in Grade 10.

For Salvacion, all these things happened because they have been given various opportunities and they did not think twice of grabbing and making most out of these.

 

Making the most out of opportunities

In 2013, Salvacion’s family became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, a program of the national government implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development that provides conditional cash grants to qualified poor households for the needs on health and education of children age zero to 18.

Their family is one of the 12,475 solo parent household-beneficiaries of the program in the CALABARZON Region.

Jenny Ann, who was 12 years old at that time, became the only child-beneficiary in the family. With Jenny Ann’s compliance to the education condition of having at least 85 percent monthly attendance in school, she receives P500 per month. The family also receives another P500 for Jenny Ann’s compliance to the deworming condition of the program as well as Salvacion’s attendance to the monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS).

“Kahit na P1,000 lang ‘yun kada buwan, napakalaking tulong na noon para sa aming pamilya. ‘Yung iisipin namin na gastusin para sa tatlong bata, naging dalawa na lang,” said Salvacion, who also added that it made easier for Jenny Ann to participate in most school activities.

Further, Salvacion’s attendance to monthly FDS reminded her of the value of education in their dream of a better life.

The FDS is a component of the Pantawid Pamilya program that teaches parent-grantees on various topics relating to family development including children’s rights, disaster preparedness and budget management. Attendance to the monthly FDS is a co-responsibility of all beneficiaries with the program.

“Lagi kong sinasabi sa mga anak ko na ang edukasyon ay mahalaga, pero puhunan lang ‘yan para umasenso. Mahalaga pa rin kung paano ka dumiskarte,” she shared.

True to this, all her children study hard and make their ways to at least help with the finances.

Gilbert was helped by a relative to enroll and finish college while Josephine applied for different scholarship programs to pay for her school expenses. She also joined beauty pageants for the cash prizes. Jenny Ann, on the other hand, helped in her aunt’s store so that her mother will no longer be bothered by her daily allowance.

When Gilbert graduated and started working in 2011, he prioritized Josephine’s school needs as well as their livelihood.

“Bumili kami ng mga alagang baboy para kahit papaano ay mayroon kaming kikitain. Dahil nagsisimula pa lang kami noon, wala kaming pangbili ng feeds kaya araw-araw kong tinitiyaga ang manghingi ng kaning-baboy sa mga kapitbahay,” Salvacion shared.

In 2017, they were able to acquire an old house, which they have been improving little by little. Since they moved to this house, they were no longer able to continue raising hogs for a living. Alongside this, Salvacion admits not to get laundry anymore because of her age. To make up to this, she applied as a street sweeper where she earns P160 per day.

As Salvacion looks around the house, she recognizes that there are still a lot of things to be done. However, she is no longer bothered of the future. With the help of her children and everyone’s hard work, she is confident that their good fortune will continue and later will be able to give back to the community in exchange for the opportunities that helped them along the way.#

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