A mother’s comfort and inspiration to provide for her children
As her family graduates as a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, 55-year-old Emelita Cubacob realizes that this should be the goal of all the program’s beneficiaries.
“Hindi naman p’wedeng habang buhay ay 4Ps ka. Hindi p’wedeng habang buhay ay mahirap ka. Dapat, habang tinutulungan tayo ng gobyerno, nangangarap din tayo, nagpupursige din tayo,” shared Emelita, a resident of Brgy. Sabang in Pagsanjan, Laguna.
After 10 years of being a beneficiary of the program, Emelita is proud to have reached this milestone–being let go by the program because their family can already stand on their own.
Her family is one of the 500 families in Laguna Province who graduated from the program through the Pugay Tagumpay Ceremony last September 21, 2022. All of these families were assessed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development to have reached self-sufficiency status, which translates to them having the capacity to provide for their family’s needs.
Finding ‘peace of mind’ as a mother
As a mother of four, Emelita shares that she and her late husband, Danilo, focused on finding ways to earn money for their family.
“Hindi p’wedeng huminto, kasi kinabukasan, kailangan ulit ng pera. Hindi sapat ang kita ng asawa ko sa pamamasada [ng tricycle] at hindi naman p’wedeng mag-aabang lang ako sa kikitain n’ya,” said Emelita, who accepted all kinds of jobs from doing laundry to weeding grass.
There were times, however, that she needed to rely on her husband, and even sacrifice meals just so they could provide for the needs of their children.
“Antay lang tayo, uuwi naman si Tatay, may dalang pagkain,” she recalled using these words a lot of times to appease her hungry children.
At day’s end, her husband would either bring home a small order of viand or buy a can of sardines for all of them to share.
“Sasabihin namin sa kanila na busog kami para makakain sila nang maayos. Kapag may natira sila, doon pa lang kami kakain na mag-asawa. ‘Pag naubos nila, saka pa lang kami maghahanap ng gulay o ibang ulam para makakain,” she recalled.
When they became beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya program in 2012, Emelita admits that she found comfort.
“Para akong nabunutan ng kapirasong tinik. Guminhawa ang pakiramdam ko dahil may naaasahan na ako para sa pag-aaral ng mga anak ko. Nabibili ko na sila ng bagong uniform at masustansyang pagkain,” she shared.
For a mother, Emelita found peace of mind that her children’s needs, especially in school, are taken care of, and she and her husband can focus on their other needs to improve their living condition.
Finding ‘inspiration’ to work harder
“Mas na-inspire akong magtrabaho pa kasi alam kong ‘yung kinikita naming mag-asawa ay mas malayo ang mapupuntahan. Hindi na ako nangangamba na wala pa kaming kakainin kinabukasan. Nakapagtatabi na rin kami,” she shared.
Emelita added that her attendance to the Family Development Sessions (FDS) of the program also opened her mind to a lot of things.
“Nabago ‘yung pakikitungo ko sa asawa ko at sa mga anak ko. Kailangan pala ng komunikasyon at respeto sa isa’t isa. Kailangan palang nagtutulungan ang buong pamilya,” said Emelita, who added that the program really helped her grow as a person.
Ten years after being a beneficiary of the program, Emelita is proud to have gained a lot. Two of her children are now private high school teachers. The younger two are both in college. They have also made progress in improving their house.
“Okay na kami ngayon. Okay na okay na talaga. Kayang-kaya na namin ‘yung dalawa pa na nag-aaral,” shared Emelita who continues to work as a cook in a nearby municipality.
As she graduates from the program, Emelita stands up with pride and contentment.
“Graduate na kami dahil nakaalis na kami doon sa buhay na masalimuot. Guminhawa na kami, hindi man sobra-sobra, pero wala na kami doon sa mahirap na buhay katulad ng dati,” said Emelita.***