Ibañez Family of Barangay San Roque was hailed as Tanauan Modelong Pamilya in the simple Pugay-Tagumpay Graduation Ceremony of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program last June 4, 2021. The family is among the 200 graduate households during the ceremony.

The family is blessed with 6 children. Victoria and Joselito have been married for almost 30 years now. Coming from poor families, they both went through a lot of hardships. Conquering poverty is something that they have always envisioned for their own family.

Unable to finish elementary school, life was never easy for both of them because they could not get high-paying jobs. Unlike Joselito, Victoria has difficulty on reading, counting, and writing though she can comprehend situations but observed to make intelligent and practical decisions. Despite this difficulty, it did not hinder her to nurture every member of the family to the best of her ability.

The family used to live in Sitio Militar Bahay Toro, Quezon City for 10 years.  Joselito used to work in a thread factory. The high cost of living in the city pushed them to come home. In 2003, the family moved to Joselito’s parents in Brgy. San Roque, Tanauan Leyte. They lived in a simple house made up of light materials such as nipa and bamboo which was not durable at all.

Since they moved to Tanauan, Joselito has been earning a living by driving a “pedicab”. He also does fishing on the side just to ensure he provides enough for his family.  Victoria, being the housewife ensures that their children are well taken care of. As wise as she could, she budgets whatever money they have for the entire family.

Life did not go according to what they initially planned. From moving back here in Leyte years ago to living with Joselito’s parents along with their 6 children, everything was a challenge for survival.

They could hardly meet their daily needs. Joselito’s meager income as a pedicab driver could barely make both ends meet for the growing needs of their children. However, they were always hopeful and continued to persevere despite their life situation.

For them, education is the only legacy that they can leave to their children. Despite the difficulty they both promised to prioritize sending their children to school for they believe that it will help them achieve a quality life in the future.

When they became Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in 2011, the family found a renewed hope and inspiration to work harder. Putting so much value to education, they sent all their children to school. As the grantee, Victoria judiciously complied with all the program conditions and encouraged her family to be active in all community activities. Her regular attendance to the monthly Family Development Sessions greatly improved her self-esteem and confidence. It taught her to speak her mind. Her active participation developed her ability to discern problems that they encounter. Indeed, it has made her a better person, a more loving mother, and a responsible community member. Their children helped and supported each other and have learned to become actively engaged in all their family activities.

Because of their admirable perseverance, they are slowly harvesting the fruit of their hard work. Two of their children are now professionals. Lilibeth, their fourth child is a licensed professional elementary teacher though she is still waiting to be hired by DepEd. Joeyboy, their fifth child is a criminology graduate and is a police trainee at the Police Provincial Office VIII in Tacloban City. Meanwhile, the eldest child Rochel, is presently taking up a caregiver course in TESDA. Criselda, a vocational course graduate has been working for years in a call center in Manila. Angelito, who is a high school undergraduate, is already seeking employment in Manila. Joshua, the youngest child is a 1st year college student taking up BS Accountancy.

The family has been very grateful for the opportunity that is given to them to be selected as one of the eligible beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. The cash grants they received were a huge help in financing their children’s educational needs.

“Malaki po ang pasasalamat ko dahil sa tulong ng programa ay nakatapos ang aking mga anak sa pag-aaral. Malaki man o maliit  na ibinibigay sa amin ay ginagamit namin sa tama. Masayang masaya po kami sapagkat kami ay nakapagpatapos ng aming mga anak sa kanilang pinapangarap na kurso. Ito ay hindi namin makakalimutan at sana ay marami pang matulungan ang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program”, Mr. Ibanez said.

Now that they no longer have eligible children for monitoring, and have attained a sufficient level of well-being based on the recent SWDI assessment, they expressed that they can now stand on their own. As program graduates, they hope to inspire other households to surpass poverty by perseverance, hard work, and optimism. He also encouraged all program beneficiaries to use the cash grants properly.

Ang ating pong ayudang natatanggap na pampinansyal sa programang ito, sana po gamitin natin sa tama. Alam po natin na ang ating mga anak, sila ang simula, sila po ang susi para po makatawid sa ating kahirapan. Sa DSWD, sa lahat ng bumubuo ng 4Ps o Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, sa aming pong municipal link, salamat po sa inyo sa inyong pang-unawa at sa gabay na ibinigay ninyo sa amin,” Mr. Ibanez said.

This year’s graduation has for its theme “Pagkilala sa Pamilyang Nagtapos bilang Miyembro-Benepisyaryo ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.”

Led by DSWD, the 4Ps is a poverty reduction strategy of the national government with DSWD as the lead agency. Household beneficiaries are entitled to receive cash subsidies provided that the conditions on health, nutrition, and education are followed. This will foster necessary behavior for parents to adequately perform the duties and responsibilities, particularly in investing in their children’s future. #