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Feature: DSWD program transcends different cultures

by Sheryll Jane Sanico

Talaingod, Davao Del Norte (11 November) -- Even at such a tender age, Aiza, 15, and Rico Logsi, 18, of Barangay Dagohoy already have a two-month old daughter to take care of. Aiza and Rico both have not finished elementary. Aiza only completed her 1st Grade in primary school, Rico finished Grade 4.

Rico works as a casual laborer in their neighborhood earning a maximum of P2,000 a month. "Ginapaningkamutan namo nga maigo ang akong ginakita para kanamo ilabi na nga naa na mi anak (We struggle to make both ends meet, especially now that we have a child)," Rico confessed.

Not being able to even reach high school because of poverty, Rico and Aiza dream that their daughter can finish her studies and find a better job. "Ingon ani na ang amoang naandan sa among ginikanan sukad pa sauna. Dili ko gusto nga mao sad ni ang madak-an sa akong anak (We were so used to this life. I do not want my daughter to have the same life that we have)," Rico shared.

With 4Ps assisting them now, they are hopeful their dream for their daughter will be realized. They understand that investing on their child's health and education will pave the way for a brighter future for her.

Datu Ipos Dagwaan, 56, and wife Comalang, 36, from Barangay Dagohoy have 17 children. Ten died due to sickness and one of still birth. His six remaining children are already married and with families of their own.

Datu Ipos and Comalang have been taking care of their grandchildren Dimoy who is six years old and Marvin, 5. Their parents left them after they went to Manila to find a more stable job. Dimoy and Marvin grew up with their grandparents.

Datu Ipos shared that he had been a KALAHI-CIDSS leader in their barangay for three fruitful years. KALAHI had funded tribal housing projects, water systems, a community library, corn mills, an irrigation system, and a health station for the residents of Talaingod.

KALAHI had taught him to be wary of his people's needs, to speak up to the authorities so that they can be heard and to work together as a whole for the success of each project.

"Daghan kaayo mi og natun-an sa KALAHI. Pero pagkahibalo nako niining 4Ps nalipay ko kaayo kay dako kaayo kini og matabang sa mga lumad sa Talaingod.. Ang maayong panlawas ug edukasyon lang gyud ang handumanan nga ikabilin namo sa among mga anak (We learned a lot from KALAHI. But when I learned about 4Ps I was overjoyed because I know that this will hugely help the indigenous people of Talaingod. Good health and education are the only wealth we can leave to our children)," Datu Ipos narrates with a look of happiness and hope in his eyes.

The Talaingod culture does not condemn a person if he/she marries and gives birth at a very young age, nor does it criticize a family with a large number of children. Mercy Gilingan married Aguinoy when she was only thirteen years old. Mercy got pregnant with their eldest child at fifteen. Now Mercy, 33 and Aguinoy, 40, are taking care of their eight children.

Her eldest, Tyson, quit school and only finished Grade 4. He now helps his father in their farm. Their second child, Sharon, 17, is in 1st year high school and is a working student in their neighboring municipality, Kapalong. Jessica, 13 years old and in Grade 6 is also a working student in Kapalong.

Their fourth child, Alfred is already eleven years old but is still in Grade 1. His parents cannot afford to send him to school so he opted to help his father in their farm and planned to attend school later when they have enough money. Nine years old Anthony and Mayca, 7 years old are both in Grade 1 as well. Jimboy who is 4 years old is in daycare and their eldest Pepita is two years old.

Mercy and Aguinoy own a small lot where they plant corn. They keep half of their produce as stock for consumption and sell the other half. "Mokita mi og mil kinyentos kada-bulan. Gatanom man pud mi og kamote ug balanghoy aron pambaon sa akong mga anak sa eskwelahan (We earn P1,500 a month. We also plant root crops such as camote and cassava for my children's baon in school).

"Salamat gyud sa 4Ps! Makapalit na gyud mi og school supplies, bag-o nga bag ug sapatos sa akoang mga anak. Ipadayon na pud namo og pa-eskwela si Alfred. Ug puhon makatabang na pud mi sa pag-eskwela ni Sharon ug Jessica aron makahuman sila og high school (Thank you 4Ps! We can now buy school supplies, new bags and shoes for my children. We can now send Alfred to school. And soon we will be able to financially assist Sharon and Jessica so that they can finish high school)," Mercy beamed.

Talaingod, Davao del Norte is one of the eleven municipalities who benefits from the program. Talaingod is included in the Set 2 Areas in Davao Region and currently has 1,725 total number of 4Ps beneficiaries.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is a poverty-reduction initiative of the government. The program aims to help extremely poor families by giving out monthly cash subsidies to improve the health, nutrition and education of children ages 0 to 14. (DSWD) [top]

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