Marlyn Velbestre, 45, of Purok 8, Calao-Calao, Don Carlos, Bukidnon, is a cautious spender.

Marlyn will always set aside an amount from the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) cash grant she receives every other two months for any eventualities. 

Marlyn Velbestre offers a variety of dishes daily for her customers.

A mother of five, Marlyn’s family exited from the 4Ps this year after the Listahanan 3 database and the social welfare and development indicator considered the household as non-poor.

When her DSWD Field Office X placed her family under the program in 2011, Marlyn started to save money for future use.

“Every top-up to our ATM, I will only withdraw an amount for my children’s school expenses and sustenance,” Marlyn told Nesryn Dimangadap, the assigned Municipal Link in Calao-Calao, Don Carlos, Bukidnon.

For instance, the Velbestre Family bought a weaner and raised it until it became a sow. The sow produces piglets. The family then raised the piglets to become sows.

At times, they would sell the weaners for the family’s income.

The family is one of the suppliers of the sow in their village.

Marlyn said the Pagbabangko Topic of the Family Development Session sparked her interest in saving money.

Opens eatery and refreshment

With the family’s savings, Marlyn and her husband decided to open an eatery and refreshments along the Don Carlos-Kadingilan Highway in Calao-Calao.

The eatery offered customers pork, fish, beef, and vegetable dishes. For snacks, the family prepared kakanins like suman, hot cakes, sapin-sain, puto bong bong, and maroya. They also offer iced candy and soda drinks.

The micro-enterprise becomes successful for years, an opportunity for the Velbestre Family to open a sari-sari store. This time, they have enough income.

During the pandemic, the family shifted her business to selling varieties of plants. It was a success that sustained their needs from the onslaught brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Farming for good

While Marlyn is busy attending to customers, her husband plants corn and varieties of vegetables to a lot they acquire.

Marlyn sells the harvested eggplants, bitter gourds, watermelons, bananas, and vegetables in their store, while dried sweet corn kernels are sold to middlemen by kilos. 

Antonio (in red shirt) supervises the tractor driver in plowing his farm.

The couple’s tandem in their efforts to live out of poverty paid off due to additional assets they acquired, to whom they consider a blessing.

The family owns a vulcanizing shop, two motorcycles, a Bajaj Rickshaw, and a concrete house with appliances.

Currently, the family is enrolled in health and social security services like Philhealth, Social Security System, Pag-ibig, and Government Service Insure System.

Prioritizes education for children

DSWD Field Office X registered and enrolled the Velbestre Family in the database of 4Ps in 2011 under Set 4D, monitoring the third, fourth, and fifth children.

At that time, the family’s eldest, Lovely, was in college, finishing her degree in education. Now, Lovely, 25, is teaching in San Fernando, Bukidnon, under the Department of Education.

Lovely allots 5,000 a month for her family, a big help to her parents. 

The second child, Clinton, is graduating with his degree in education, majoring in food and services management, while the third child, Mark Anthony, is now in the second year of his education degree. All of them are enrolled at Central Mindanao University, Maramag, Bukidnon. 

Meanwhile, the two youngest siblings: Marriethonie and Tomy, are Grade 9 and 8 students, respectively, at San Nicolas National High School, Don Carlos, Bukidnon. 

Marlyn said the hardships the family encountered before becoming a 4Ps grantee inspired her to strive more to give a brighter future to her children.

Now that the family had exited the program, she assured her Municipal Link that the blessings and opportunities they earned would certainly bring each family member to prosperity.