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FISH: A STORY OF A PERSEVERING PANTAWID PAMILYA MOTHER

FISH: A STORY OF A PERSEVERING PANTAWID PAMILYA MOTHER

“Ma, mangaon pud unta ta ug isda panagsa (Ma, I wish we could have fish to eat sometimes),” Remely’s son suggested one day during lunch after realizing that they have been eating the same kind of foods ever since he was born.

“Puhon, anak. Puhon, (Someday, my child. Someday)” she replied, although she felt a bit of a motherly pain there.

Someday, she thought. And Remely believed that. Someday things will be better for her and her family.

 

DAYS OF LACK

A mother of four little children, Remely Hermoso spent most her days toiling and planting vegetables in their small piece of land in Barangay Tuno – a small village found at the foot of Mt. Malindang in Don Victoriano, Misamis Occidental.

Everyday she would go to her little farm located just beside her home where she would sow and harvest vegetables. She would take some of the harvest for consumption, and some she would sell at the market, hoping that she would earn a bit to help her husband’s meager income. “It was difficult because as soon as I earn money from my produce, I would be using it to pay for transportation costs to the market and back. I was back to zero when I return home at night. It was useless.”

Jerry, her husband, works as a tenant for a neighbor and can only earn as much as P60.00 a day which can hardly make ends meet. With her and her husband’s daily income combined, she could not afford to buy things that are needed by her family – let alone a kilo of fish just to make their viand a little different every meal.

 

HELP AND RELIEF

When Remely got enrolled as a beneficiary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, she sensed hope.

Remely is one of the 237,848 households benefiting from Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, a human development program that invests in the health and education of poor households, particularly of children aged 0-14 years old. It provides cash grants to beneficiaries provided that they comply with the set of conditions required by the program.

Hearing that she would be receiving a cash grant of P1,400 a month for her children’s education and health, she thought that perhaps this was the start of her breakthrough she was praying for. She will no longer worry about buying school supplies for her children and their health needs.

Remely felt an exciting rush when she received her first cash grant. Staring at the money in her hands, there was only one thought in her mind: buy a kilo of fish, fry it, and have a sumptuous dinner with her family.

And it was a sumptuous and a memorable dinner, indeed. Remely finally found peace as she looked at her children enjoying their fish. She thought that with Pantawid Pamilya, things will be a bit easier now.

Little did Remely know that things will be much better than how she even expected it to.

When she found herself joining Tuno 4Ps SKA-II, an association of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries organized last May 2012 for the DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program, she was lent a seed capital fund of P5,000.00 to start her small-scale business of selling vegetables.

DSWD provides assistance with entrepreneurial and employment opportunities for the poor through the Sustainable Livelihood Program.

As of June 2013, there are a total of 38,837 poor households served under the Program. Remely is one of the participants who were provided with capital assistance for starting and managing micro-enterprises.

“When I got the amount, I was too excited, I did not know what to do next,” she laughed. “Thank God, the DSWD people were there to help me out with the small business that I had.” She narrated how she was able to attend skills enhancement trainings with the DSWD and the Department of Agriculture (DA) and how she was even taught on how to manage her funds. “I wanted to know everything about selling and how I could help myself become a good entrepreneur. It really did help me, personally,” she said.

 

LACKING NO MORE

Today, Remely can now be found riding her very own van, managing her own little warehouse selling vegetables. She is now a known major supplier of vegetables and delivers her produce everyday from Don Victoriano to her customers in neighboring municipalities and in the city of Pagadian. Aside from these, she is now even into owning and herding eight pigs for selling in the future.

Remely’s family can now buy the things they need and even want. She is now in her breakthrough.

“I think what really helped is not just the money that I received from the government. What also helped me is my perseverance and faith that things will be better for me and my family. Sulking or quitting was never an option.”

“Fish during meal time is no longer a problem,” she smiled. “Everytime my son asks me for fish to eat, I get all happy because now I can cook it for him right there and then.”

Written by Charmaine P. Tadlas, Regional Information Officer

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