Family in Bohol overcomes poverty through Pantawid

Family in Bohol overcomes poverty through Pantawid
SUCCESS STORY. This photo shows Myla Vallecera during her graduation in Bohol Island State University in 2023. Vallecera’s family is a recipient of the Pantawid Pamiliya Pilipino Program or 4Ps. After graduation, Vallecera focused on self-review at home for four months and passed the board exam in March 2024. She now works as a call center agent while waiting for the result of her application to become a public school teacher. / DSWD 7

THE life of Arlene Vallecera and her family was changed through the government’s Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps).

“Lisod gayud ang kinabuhi namo sa una kompara karon nga naapil nami sa 4Ps (Our life was really difficult compared to now that we are part of 4Ps),” Vallecera said.

Known as Lyn among her neighbors in the community in Barangay Marcelo, Mabini, in the northern part of Bohol, Vallecera said their lives were different before they became a 4Ps household in 2011.

She was a regular stay-at-home parent with no stable income, relying on her husband, Victor, who worked as a fisherman and earned a maximum of P5,000 per month, depending on weather conditions.

Vallecera had to stretch their income, prioritizing their daily meals with no budget for other basic needs like buying new clothes, housing materials, and even school supplies for their children.

Blessed with four children, namely Myca, Myla, Mylene, and Mike John, the couple tried their best to send them to school.

With a meager income, they could not improve their own nipa house made of light materials.

“Naay panahon nga dili nako kabalo unsaon nako pagbudget ang kita sa akong bana ug miski unsa pa ang paningkamot niya dili gyud paigo sa among mga panginahanglanon (There were times that I did not know how to budget my husband’s income, and despite his efforts, it could not suffice the needs of our family),” Vallecera said.

Becoming a 4Ps beneficiary

After being identified as one of the poor households in Mabini under the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction, the family became eligible beneficiaries of the 4Ps.

It was on Feb. 26, 2011, when her family was officially registered as a 4Ps household. The program has had a positive impact on their lives. The education grants she received aided her in purchasing her children’s school uniforms, school supplies, and other miscellaneous expenses, while the health grants helped her buy vitamins and food.

The conditional cash transfer received by Vallecera as a grantee augmented their income, and now, she efficiently manages their household’s budget for food, nutrition, and support for children’s education.

Vallecera also became one of the 4Ps parent leaders in their barangay and has helped her co-beneficiaries whenever they have concerns and queries about the program. With a compassionate heart and genuine concern for others, she would always listen and offer practical advice concerning the 4Ps or their personal life.

The family development sessions (FDS) part of the 4Ps, which the beneficiaries attend every month, encourage them to be more responsible parents and active citizens in their community.

The different developmental topics in the FDS served as a revelation for Vallecera, helping to deepen communication, understanding, and mutual respect within the family.

Aside from the 4Ps, Vallecera also became aware of the different programs and services of the government and how her family and other members could avail themselves of services in their Barangay Health Center. She also became an active member of their barangay’s women’s group that advocates for gender equality and women empowerment.

Life improved

Over time, the family’s economic status improved through hard work and perseverance. Lyn’s eldest daughter, Myca, is now married. The second daughter, Myla, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education as an English major and passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers in March 2024. Myla works as a call center agent in Cebu City while waiting for the result of her application to be a teacher.

The third child, Mylene, is a first-year Bachelor of Science in Office Administration student, and the youngest child, Mike John, is a senior high school student.

The family built a new semi-concrete house with access to water, electricity, and a sanitary toilet. Vallecera still works in Manila and receives a monthly income of P12,000. She will end her contract in December 2024.

Lyn has been extremely thankful that her family became a 4Ps beneficiary.

“The program helped develop my sense of volunteerism. I discovered my confidence in interacting with the public, which paved the way for me to know my community more and have more friends,” Vallecera said in dialect.

She added that poverty cannot deter people from dreaming and planning for a better life. She wishes that her two remaining children could graduate from college and hopes all her children will have their own families and better lives.

Vallecera proudly said yes when asked if she was ready to graduate from the program.

“Dako ang natabang sa programa labi na sa panahon nga walay-wala gyud mi ug karon nga kaya na namo makabarog sa among kaugalingon, andam nami nga mohawa sa programa ug mahatag napud kini sa uban pang mas nagkinahanglan (The program helped a lot, especially during the time that we really had nothing, and now that we can stand on our own, we are ready to leave the program and give this to others who need it the most),” said Vallecera.

Vallecera believed that true success could not be measured by the heights one attains but by the obstacles one overcomes.

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