She was rushed in the Provincial Hospital morning of February 2002. Her Blood Pressure was unstable, she bleeds her nose, spits blood and the excruciating pain suddenly turned her unconscious. She was uncertain of what awaits her. The only thing she knew was that she’ll about to give birth.
Florinda Baguio, 32, a Pantawid Beneficiary from Brgy. Ulingan, Dipolog City , Zamboanga Del Norte never expected that her first born were Triplets. She was unconscious for three days in the hospital after the successful Caesarean operation. Amused by the strength and blessing given to her, the near death experience due to her critical situation was considered a second life, said by her attending physician.
Starting a family with instant three infants made her even unsure and challenged knowing that they are poor and the meager income of his husband as a fisherman is not enough to suffice the family’s basic necessities. The hard life they’ve encountered pushed them harder not rely on other people to feed and provide their children’s need. “Nagpapasalamat lang ako sa Dagat, dahil kapag kinukulang ng gatas ang mga anak ko, binibigyan kame ng diyos ng maraming huli, doon kame nakakabawi sa mga gastusin” (I am very thankful to the Sea. In times when we lack supply of infant milk to our children, the Lord would give us bountiful catch, with that, we can recover our expenses”)
Florinda accepted her motherhood with so much joy and contentment. She was optimistic that no matter how hard the condition they were in, it will never be a reason to give up her responsibility. She could not even forget a time when somebody tried to convince to let her sons be adopted so they can survive living and unload their difficulties. With strong conviction, she never allowed anyone to do it. As a mother, she never imagined herself giving out her triplets because of Poverty. She always made sure that nobody can judge the way she took care of her children and that no one can separate her from the blessing that was given to them because she knows that soon, with God’s mercy they can lift themselves from the rugged battle of survival.
With the increasing needs of their children, she felt that her hope was too hard to realize. Moments came when she sensed that there is no government that concerns them. She did all her means, talked to several people to assist them but nobody came and offered a help. But with that, she never gave up. “Ginagawa namin ang lahat para mapatakbo ang Pamilya at maging maayos na magulang aming mga anak. Nawala ang tiwala ko sa Gobyerno, Sa mga panahon na iyon sa Diyos na lamang ang aming tiwala”(We did all our best to run the family and be good parents to our children. I lose my trust in the government. In those times, it is only God to whom we drew our trust”), said Florinda.
On May 2008, they were assessed and finally included in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program under Set 1-A. Little by chances she knew that the program was indeed another blessing. She religiously complied the conditionalities set by the program, attended monthly Family Development Sessions and became an active Parent Leader. It is through the program she realized that hope is coming to save her from falling apart from their situation. A spark of positivism continues to shed light on the dark portions of her life. It is by then she realized that her Hopelessness gradually shifted to positive thoughts and her Motherhood was finally bending back to resiliency.
She continued the change that is taking place in their lives, with careful planning and learning on how to raise the family well through the FDS, they gradually stepped up the ladder with confidence and infused it with empowerment. Year 2011, she finally decided to get back in school. In her humble senior years, she shared that she was conferred with 3rd Honorable Mention. A turning point when she realized the regrets of not pursuing her career goals. With pressing demands of her children, she cannot compromise them by dreaming low. She has to dream big in order to attain change, she added.
Together with her three little boys who in that time in their elementary years, she sends them to school and fetches them after her class in Dipolog School of Fisheries. She endured the years when she had to go home during vacant intervals just to finish the laundry at home. She never complained when she had grumbling stomach while having classes just to save money for her requirements. She always made sure that all the needs of her children were prepared before she hits the sack. In God’s gracious timing, she graduated her tertiary level in BS Aqua Culture with flying colors. She topped the department’s roster of graduates and was conferred a Proficiency Award in Aqua Culture with National Certificate II (NC-II). The marks she got during her final years in college were almost equivalent to a Magna Cum Laude, according to her professor.
She was overwhelmed and grateful for the opportunity given to her. Amid distrust and disappointments, the abundance of blessings she reaped all through the years, was truly enough surprising and fulfilling. How can he thank for all of these if not from God who always provides her the inner and physical strength to go on. “Si God talaga ang Powerful sa lahat, sa kanya ko ionoofer ang success na nakamit ko” (It is God who is truly Powerful. In him I offer all the success I have achieved), she said.
With the aspiration to make the change sustainable, she enrolled herself in the Training Methodology where she successfully got her another National Certificate from TESDA. Anytime soon, she might plan to enrol again to get some Education Units in the Graduate School and pursue teaching in the tertiary school for career her growth.
The success and inspiring story made Florinda and her family won in the entire Dipolog City and emerged 2nd place during the Provincial Search for Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya held in Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte.
On March 31, 2016, she will be walking up the stage with pride and honor, not as a student but as a proud Mother. Reynald Baguio, the eldest of her triplets will be bestowed as class Valedictorian on the upcoming commencement exercises in Ulingan South Elementary School, Dipolog City. The achievement her children replicated is a manifestation of her selfless dedication and good parenting. The light she ignited in their minds and hearts reminded them not to be weary in dreaming what’s the best for them.
She is very thankful to Pantawid Pamilya that she was given another life to make things ideal for her. A family that is stronger and together amid hurled with roughest challenges. “Malaki talaga ang impact sa buhay naming pamilya. May naririnig man akong mga negative comment tungkol sa programa, hindi ako nagpapaapekto dahil hindi nila alam ang pinagdaanan namin at hindi nila nakita ang paraan na ginawa namin para lang makaahon sa dating sitwasyon”, (The impact in our family is truly huge. I heard a lot of negative comments about the program, I was never affected because they do not know our struggles and they didn’t saw the efforts we exerted to uplift our lives from the previous situation), she further expressed.
Florinda had given now her trust to the program, she is now confident to believe in her capabilities. The efforts exerted by the government to look into their plight and needs, reminds her that being among the vulnerable sectors in the society, a chance to see the change in them will bridge them all to achieve an improved life. ##