Feature: A new hand me down
by Recthie B. Tolinero
Cagayan de Oro City (8 October) -- In Sapad, Lanao del Norte the only inheritance that the common folks could offer to their children is the work as a farmer. Children hardly go to school since they are financially unstable causing them to be in the fields where they aid their parents until then they know nothing else but to be in the farm. And so the trend goes on.
Lolita M. Empinado, 48, who lives at Purok 4, Mala Salug, Sapad, Lanao del Norte, is a mother of seven aged 18, 14, 13, 11, 10, 5, and 1.
Since her great grandfather's time, farming has been the family's way of living.
Lolita's husband can barely earn P100 per day that is why they are having a hard time sending their children to school.
Her eldest son opts to be in the farm where he can help his father. The other children are in Grades 6, 5, 1, and day care.
Checking on their age, Lolita's children are too old for their grades.
According to Lolita, her children used to stop schooling because they usually go to school with empty stomachs and they are reluctant to deal with other students since they could not afford to buy basic school requirements.
"Gusto unta nako makabawi sa akong mga anak kay elementary ra gyud akong nahuman pero unsaon man nako nga mao ra man gihapon ang among panginabuhi?" (I wanted to recover from this poverty for my children because I only reached elementary but how will I be able to do so when we have the same means of living?)," Lolita shared.
When the family was chosen as one of the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the mother proudly said, "Dili pa man diay katapusan sa tanan. Karon, dili na ga-absent akong mga anak sa eskwelahan ug malipay na pud kaayo ko kay ang pasabot ani, puhon malahi ra ang ilang kinabuhi." (Now I realized that it is not the end of everything yet. Now, my children diligently go to school that is why I am very happy because this means that their lives will be changed someday).
Lolita's family has been receiving P1,100 per month since November 2008.
The 4Ps is a poverty reduction strategy of the government which provides conditional cash grants to the poorest households in the country to help them improve their health, nutrition and education.
It also aims to break the intergenerational poverty experienced by millions of Filipino families like Lolita's.
Whenever her children talk about future plans, Lolita expressed, "Sauna maguol ko kung maghisgut na ang akong mga anak sa ilang mga gustong maabot sa kinabuhi kay kabalo ko nga wala mi'y kapasidad nga ipa-eskwela sila. Pero karon, ako na ang mag-sige ug dasig kanila nga mag-eskwela ug tarong kay tungod sa hinabang sa 4Ps basig puhon pa mahuman silang tanan," (Before, I am always depressed whenever my children talk about what they wanted to become someday because I know that we don't have the capacity to send them all to school. But now, I am the one who always encourage them to study harder since we have financial aid from 4Ps, maybe someday all of them can finish their studies).
Lolita's change of perspective is one of the positive effects of 4Ps which also states true to most of the beneficiaries in Sapad, Lanao del Norte.
With this, 4Ps has once again proved that it is possible for poor parents to give a new hand me down to their children and further change the unfavorable legacy laced with poverty. (DSWD-10) [top]