While the cash subsidy under the Social Amelioration Program ensured food on the table for most families, Erlinda Dela Peña’s family has a different story to tell.
For Erlinda’s family, receiving the PhP 6,500 subsidy from the national government means saving one of their family members’ life.
Erlinda, a resident of Brgy. Muzon in Taytay, Rizal Province, is a solo parent for 11 years now. She has been supporting her two children, one of them is suffering from brain cancer.
Finding ways for her son’s medicines
Troy, her youngest child, was diagnosed with brain cancer a few years after Erlinda’s husband died.
“Napakasakit po para sa akin. Hirap po ako kasi po wala po akong mapapagkunan ng mga gamot n’ya. Gusto ko po sanang maghanap ng trabaho, kaso wala naman pong mag-aalaga sa kanya,” she explained.
Troy is taking several kinds of medicine for his treatment costing them approximately PhP 3,000 to 5,000 a week. According to Erlinda, if her son fails to take one of his medicines even just once, he would be confined to his bed.
This drove Erlinda to seek help from several agencies and foundations for financial assistance. On the side, Erlinda makes handicrafts and takes laundry jobs from nearby subdivisions for their daily sustenance.
“Simula po nung nagkasakit si Troy, doble kayod at tiyaga po talaga ako para sa amin. Laking pasasalamat ko naman po na for the past 11 years, nalalampasan namin ang bawat pagsubok. Kapag po ganito ang sitwasyon, kailangan pong matutong maging matatag,” Erlinda shared.
More burdened by the quarantine
When the enhanced community quarantine was implemented last March, Erlinda admitted that things had been really a lot tougher for them. Donations for Troy’s treatment slowed down and Erlinda cannot take laundry jobs anymore due to strict quarantine measures.
According to her, there have been times when Troy wasn’t able to take his medicines and was even rushed to the hospital.
“Talagang sobrang laking challenge po sa amin ng quarantine. Pero inisip ko na lang po na kinaya nga po namin ng 11 years, ngayon pa ba kami susuko,” Erlinda shared.
Instead of losing hope, Erlinda once again solicited help from agencies, foundations, and even from her acquaintances. Fortunately, she was able to raise funds for some of Troy’s medicines.
“Pasalamat naman po at may mga nakakatulong pa rin sa amin. Isa na po doon ang SAP na natanggap namin,” Erlinda shared.
From the cash subsidy they received, Erlinda was able to buy a week’s worth of medicine for Troy. She was even able to buy additional supplements, which she cannot afford before.
“Napakalaking improvement po ang nangyari simula po nung maibili ko na po ulit s’ya ng kumpletong gamot lalo na po ‘yung gatas. Ngayon po, normal na po ang kanyang paggalaw, hindi na po nagkakaseizures, hindi na rin po laging nakahiga,” Erlinda shared.
With the quarantine measures eased up, Erlinda is planning to double her efforts in soliciting funds again for Troy. She is also setting up online platforms to gather donations from netizens.
“Napakalaki po ng pasasalamat ko sa mga tumulong sa amin simula pa noong una. Bukod po sa anak ko, sila po ang nagpapalakas ng loob ko na lumaban sa anumang pagsubok. Nagpapasalamat po ako sa DSWD, hindi lamang po sa SAP, kundi pati na rin po sa mga financial assistance na naitulong nila sa amin noon. Sana po marami pa silang matulungan.” Erlinda shared.#