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Empowered Aling Carmen

Carmelita Polinar, 51 is commonly known as Aling Carmen. She is a mother to her four loving children- Marj, Drin, Mica and Joyjoy. She is married to Alfredo Polinar, a full-time farmer. The couple raised their family through pure hard work and perseverance. Carmelita was a Barangay Secretary for almost nine years and spends her free time helping her husband Alfredo in their small farm. The couple planted rice and corn and maintain vegetable garden and planted root crops like cassava and camote which they sell to their neighbours to have an additional income to augment the daily needs of their growing family.

Carmen recounted that it was never easy being a parent. Having almost no leisure time to spend with her family, the couple have to spend most of their time working to be able to support their kids. Alfredo earns around Php4,000.00 every harvest from their rice and corn farm which happens every four months. While Carmen works as Secretary in the Barangay Office of Lala, Pagadian City since 2008-2017 and earns Php4,000.00 every month. The income of the couple is really not enough for the family but with the couple’s hard work and unconditional love for their children, they always try to find possible ways to provide for their family, even if it means working for extra time. Carmen even recalled that in 2010, they have to sell their cow to pay for the installation of Electricity of their home.

In 2012, Carmen was luckily included in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. She was really thankful and seen it as a big help for their family.  In 2015, she heard about Sustainable Livelihood Program being introduced during one of their regular Family Development Session. She got interested and encouraged her co-beneficiaries to avail of the program. She led the organization of the group. In the same year (2015), with the cooperation of the members of their association composed of 96 Pantawid beneficiaries, they were granted with Seed Capital Fund under Micro-enterprise Development Modality amounting to Php 672, 000.00. They utilized their Capital Fund in Agri-loans; Microlending, and Wholesale of rice.

The Lala SLP Association offers money financing services to farmers to finance their farms and livestock production. Aling Carmen emphasized how much the livelihood program brought positive change to the members and their families and the community as a whole.

“Makita gyud nimu ang kausaban”, Aling Carmen stated.

She recounted that prior to SLP intervention, the community especially farmers have a really hard time sourcing out finances for their farm inputs, they mostly resort to Private Lending Services with higher interest rate. Plus they have to spend extra expenses in individually purchasing fertilizers and insecticides where they need to travel downtown. Their income from the farm is actually insufficient as they have to pay for extra expenses incurred before the harvest.

Now, farmers in Lala, Pagadian City are thankful to SLP for they were offered with agricultural loans with minimum rate and Lala SLPA is also engaging buy and sell of farm inputs at a lower price so the farmers will have lesser expenses and higher income.

While leading the association, Carmen decided to give up her work as a Barangay Secretary and focused her time with her family and the SLPA, since she need not to worry anymore for their expenses because they have established income-operating projects from the loan grant of the SLPA. Aside from their farming, they have also additional livestock production like piggery. The couple can now provide their children with their needs. Their daughter Marj, is now preparing for the Social Workers Licensure Exam while Drin is now studying in College as a full scholar student and Mica is in Junior High School and Joyjoy is now raising her own family.

Last 2018 Barangay Election, Aling Carmen tried her luck and file for Barangay Kagawad Candidacy and won. From a Barangay Secretary of 8 years, Aling Carmen is now officially serving the constituents of Barangay Lala, Pagadian City as a Barangay Kagawad. She is very happy for the opportunity given to her. She expressed her gratitude to 4Ps, SLP, and DSWD as a whole. As she said, her experiences with the programs of the agency have helped her become the person she is today. Her leadership skills were enhanced throughout the period and she can now spend quality time with her family since she can now manage her own time. She challenges her co-beneficiaries to strengthen cooperation and work towards the development of everybody.

“Ako silang gi-challenge nga mu-cooperate para sa paglambo sa asosasyon ug tarungon ug dala nga pirme magmakatinud anon sa pagdala sa asosasyon para masustain nila, ug sa mga ng kaproblema nga asosasyon, ako gi-challenge nga bangonon nila kaimka tabang man gihapon sa atua, sa atuang pamilya, ug sa atuang mga anak.”Aling Carmen challenges her co-beneficiaries.

Aling Carmen expressed her gratefulness to SLP, 4Ps and DSWD for she considered the program a huge help to them as individuals, family and community. Aside from the financial aspect which has a big contribution to all beneficiaries, she also acknowledged how much the program has helped not only herself but also co-beneficiaries enhanced their social skills.

“Mapasalamaton kayo ko sa SLP sa among nadawat nga livelihood nga nakatabang kayo namu ug dako, sa amung barangay labi na namu nga nanginahanglan aning asosasyon, Among dako kaayong pasalamat sa SLP labaw na nakatabang sa mga panginahanglan sa amoang mga anak. Unta mapadayunon ni ug makatabang pa sa mas daghan nga katawhan. Mao ni among pangandoy nga mapadayunon ni.

Mapasalamaton kayo kosa DSWD, una ani sa 4Ps nga mao dyuy una nga nasugdan nga naorganize mi ug na grupo mi ug nahatagan mi aning livelihood nga among gidawat nga karon dako na kaayong natabang sa amua, sa amuang barangay.” Aling Carmen gratefully said.

###BernelySheilaineDeLeon

This post was written by:

- who has written 42 posts on DSWD Field Office IX Official Website.


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