A father’s pride of his family’s achievement through the years

Seeing his family’s condition, Felipe Butron cannot help but blame himself for the failure.

“Madalas kong nararamdaman na nagkulang ako bilang ama dahil kahit anong tiyaga ang gawin ko ay tila hindi ko na maiaahon pa sa lugmok na kahirapan ang pamilya ko,” shared Felipe, who supports his four children from his income as a janitor.

Felipe recalls instances when his children would skip school and just join their mother scavenging for scrap materials so that they can have an allowance for the succeeding days in school.

A decade later, Felipe cannot hide his joy and pride.

From his moments of self pity during those trying times, he is now a proud father of three professionals and one college student who, together with his wife, Marilou, work hand in hand in reaching their dreams of a better life.

Finding the courage to dream

Felipe’s monthly income as a janitor was often just enough for their daily food and other daily expenses at home. As such, Marilou would take laundry jobs or scavenge for scrap materials whenever their children are in school to augment some of the expenses.

When they qualified to be a beneficiary of the national government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in 2012, both Felipe and Marilou found hope.

“Isa itong pagkakataong ibinigay sa amin para kahit papaano ay gumaan ang kakapusang aming iniinda,” shared Felipe.

Aside from the cash grants they receive as an aid for their children’s school expenses, Felipe shares that they also learned a lot of things through their attendance to the monthly Family Development Sessions.

“Itinuturo sa amin ang buong aspeto ng pagpapamilya. Naging rason ito para mas magampanan namin nang maayos ang papel bilang responsableng magulang sa aming mga anak,” added Felipe.

It is through these sessions as well that they learned the importance of budgeting and saving.

“Nakapagpundar kami ng maliit na sari-sari store kung saan namin hinuhugot ang mga gastusin sa pang-araw-araw,” he shared.

Despite the assistance from the government, Felipe continued working non-stop as a janitor and Marilou continued building their small business venture.

Sending their children to college

As beneficiaries of the program, the family was also able to access various services, particularly in supporting their dreams of a college education for their children. Through the assistance of various scholarship programs, three of their children have already graduated from college and are working professionals now.

Marife, their eldest, is a certified public accountant while Grace Fe, their second child, is a Human Resource Consultant. Jericka, their third child, is an industrial engineer and works as a data analyst in a private company.

Jemely, their youngest, is currently in college and taking up a degree in Psychology.

Now 61 years old, Felipe has retired from his job as a janitor. His retirement claims from the Social Security System were wisely used as an additional capital for their store.

Upon the DSWD’s re-assessment of the living condition of the family in 2021, the Butron Family has reached Level 3 status, which means they are already self-sufficient and are able to stand on their own.

As such, in September 2021, the family graduated as a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilya program.

“Lubos ang aming pasasalamat sa programa dahil ito ang naging tulay upang makamit ng pamilya namin ang kaginhawaang nalalasap namin ngayon. Wala na kaming ibang hahangarin pa kundi makapagtapos ang bunso naming anak,” shared Felipe, who is very satisfied with the life they are enjoying these days.

Through their income from the store and the help of the three working children, they are working together to help finance Jemely’s college education. Even without the assistance from the Pantawid Pamilya program, the whole family is confident that they will be able to achieve this.

“Hindi lamang pera ang binigay ninyo sa amin kundi pati ang mga aral sa pagiging madiskarte sa buhay at magampanan nang maayos ang tungkulin sa tahanan at sa komunidad,” said Felipe with great confidence.***