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TEAMPURA is the main course

Teampura is a coined term from the acronyms derived from the phrase: Together, Everyone Achieves More Positive Understanding and Responsive Action (TEAMPURA), a mantra that drives the passion of the DSWD Zamboanga Sibugay staff.

And just like the famous Japanese dish, Teampura is served hot and served as the primary dish in a meal of services that are being offered in Zamboanga Sibugay Province, as if it is the main course to a fine social service delivery.

The Municipality of Titay is a 2nd class municipality in the Province of Zamboanga Sibugay with 30 barangays. Titay is known as an agricultural municipality wherein farming is the main source of livelihood and income for most of its residents.

Having a population of 49,673 the Listahanan has identified 4,354 poor families in the municipality which ranks Titay as the 14th poorest municipality out of 16 municipalities in the entire Zamboanga Sibugay Province.

With this, the DSWD implements the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in the said municipality to reach out to the poor families with a total of 4,663 beneficiaries composed of 4,132 beneficiaries under the Regular Conditional Cash Transfer (RCCT) and 531 under the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Indigenous Peoples (MCCT-IP).

And with such huge numbers to cater to, teampura is the key to be able to efficiently serve and bring social services on the table and plates of the vulnerable sectors.

The team was initially established as Tulosulo last 2017 as the KC NCDDP was implemented in the municipality of Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay. The team was composed of 22 team members: 4 of which are SLP PDO II, 4 KC NCDDP implementers and 14 Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program workers.

These workers from various programs and projects complement each other for an efficient delivery of services. Several activities are conducted with the coordination of field implementers such as the Municipal Inter-Agency Committee (MIAC) stakeholders meeting, Municipal Action Team (MAT) meeting implementation of Convergence Initiative, close review and implementation of Convergence Municipal Action Plan especially stakeholders commitments and household monitoring. The team members are guided and informed of the different plans of their respective programs/projects so as to ensure that all beneficiaries are provided with appropriate intervention.

The Local Government Unit of Titay is also very well-involved and is very supportive of the DSWD’s programs and activities through the provision of different resources, legislations, and mobilization of communities to improve the level of well-being of the partner beneficiaries.

The MAT, MIAC and CSO’s work hand-in-hand to create convergence as an initiative to answer the gaps felt by the communities/partner beneficiaries.

Teampura ensures that everyone is involved in all endeavors of the Department to guarantee that maximum success potential is achieved and all seeds planted will grow abundantly.


With the introduction of the Bio-Intensive Gardening (BIG) in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) as part of its mandate, sprout the Convergence Initiative (CI) 2017 dubbed as “DAGDAG KITA SA BAKURAN.”

It aims to assist 100% of our partner beneficiaries to have a secured source of nutrition and staple food on the table through the establishment of backyard and communal gardens thus decreasing the health issues and sustainable food security concerns in the area.

Apart from addressing the nutritional gaps of a household, the gardening activities also helped the beneficiaries augment their income. Teampura helped the beneficiaries strategically perform their best practices in the gardening by providing them technical assistance such as maintenance, logistical support, and bookkeeping among others. The team strengthened the implementation through sustained information dissemination, various orientations on organic gardening which led to the upgrade of the convergence initiative from Dagdag Kita sa Bakuran to “Save a Peso a Day” which was launched last November 19, 2017.

Its primary objective is to inculcate the practice of saving for when it is needed. From mere planting vegetables, the initiative has now flourished into potential savings.

SAVE A PESO A DAY Saves the Day

Prior to the implementation of the C.I., the provincial office in Zamboanga Sibugay constantly receives several financial concerns daily from the 4Ps beneficiaries that vary from needs for household expenses, educational expenses, emergency medical expenditures and etc.

SAVE A PESO A DAY is seen as the answer to the unexpected crises and financial difficulties which our partner beneficiaries may encounter in the future.

Evident in their individual savings account, the partner beneficiaries are now able to save money from their income in their backyard and communal garden. As aggressive as some of them are, some of the beneficiaries are able to use their additional income as a startup capital to put up a small business, they also invested in group lending where everybody benefits from the interest, others even used their money to venture into poultry and hog raising business.

The partner beneficiaries express that they are now less worried about unexpected crises or even about hospitalization concerns that go beyond the “zero billing” policy of accredited hospitals.

With this observable impact of the convergence initiative in the lives of the partner beneficiaries, the Team and MIAC came up with the next step of the Convergence Initiative in the 2nd semester 2018, the level up the previous Convergence Initiative to “GUGMA SA NEGOSYO, IPON KO, CAPITAL KO.

This initiative was launched last December 6, 2018. It focuses on the strengthening of organized community groups for effective income generating activities. The C/MAT Team conducted several Organizational Development, Financial Management Session, and Simple Bookkeeping seminars for the beneficiaries that helped them in sustaining their income-generating activities, installation of simple accounting system, local accreditation, and construction of by-laws.

The TEAMPURA at school

Since Teampura is a collaboration of all stakeholders to address gaps and provide appropriate interventions, one gap has caught the attention of the team –the alarming increase in number of the children not attending school or what the 4Ps program call the “NAS children”.

This led the team to implement a project entitled “SPG – Estudyante, Pamilya at Gobyerno; Hawak kamay para sa Pagbabago”, an initiative launched last May 3, 2019.

It ensures 100% school enrollees among children beneficiaries and sustain their attendance to school. This is in support to the Bata: Balik Eskwela campaign of the national office to bring the Not Attending School (NAS) children back in school either through regular classes or in Alternative Learning System (ALS).

With this convergence initiative, almost 233 children went back to school even those children not monitored by the program.

During the launching of the project, all MIAC members were present and contributed a lot in the implementation of the initiative. Department heads from the LGU and the PNP Officers served as Resource Speakers for the parents, DepEd/ ALS Personnel served as resource speakers for the children, our partners in the Religious Sector provided Moral recovery sessions both for parents and children.

As a result, Titay-LGU committed to provide school supplies for the children –a commitment that is well-commended by the Department as this shows the strong convergence power of the team in the area which inspired a lot of other teams not only in the Zamboanga Sibugay Province but in the entire Zamboanga Peninsula as well.

Teampura and its special sauce

Just like a regular tempura, Teampura also needs sauce to make it more special and more delicious before it is served to the public. The special sauce of the Teampura is their external sources and support from partners.

Through the strong relationship that was built overtime, the team was able to seek help from its partners in the successful implementation of their initiatives. Because of the well-established coordination, the Local Government Unit in the municipality of Titay funded all of the initiatives presented by the team.

In a validation activity conducted by the PRAISE Committee, Teampura mentioned that they have never encountered rejections be it funds or mobilization support from the LGU.

As Local Chief Executive Hon. Leonardo Talania, Municipal Mayor, said in one of the local events “in any activity for the people wherein the team needs augmentation and assistance, just provide a project proposal and the LGU will gladly accommodate your requests such as sources for funds or logistical support for the activities.”

We already know from the stories mentioned in the first half of this article that the team has a strong support from other national government agencies, to wit: the Department of Education which was their partner during the “SPG“ launching as majority of the preparation of the event was lodged to the DepEd (ie Venue, Sound system, Stage and Emcee) with the amount of 64,000 for the food and school supplies.

In addition, the Municipal Agriculture office had also provided several variety seeds worth 100,000 and animal dispersal to our beneficiaries for their gardening project, the Dagdag Kita sa Bakuran.

The Municipal Administrator voluntarily donated 10,000 pesos cash to purchased seedlings for beneficiaries and pledged 10,000 pesos annual donation for the search for modelong gulayan.

The Barangay Local Government Unit of all barangays also showed support by their commitment in monitoring the Communal Gardens as well as the behaviors of the target children beneficiaries.

TEAMPURA –not a dish but an ingredient

It has been proven that the system and strategy of the team is effective in bring social welfare services closer to the reach of their target beneficiaries. But for the team members of Teampura, the success that they see now is not necessarily because of them. Rather the result of the effort of all people working together to achieve common goals, one step at a time.

For them, Teampura acts like an ingredient that pulls together all other major ingredients to come up with one very tasty offering to their clients. That’s the secret recipe to a successful dish.

As their name says, Together, Everyone Achieves More Positive Understanding and Responsive Action.

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Worth Every Step: 1,950 Concrete Uphill Stairway

Imagine to have walked around 3 kilometers on a muddy ground from your home to the nearest hi-way doing your daily routine of either going to school, doing errands, attending to business or any form of livelihood, and many more. Sounds ordinary? But what if these 3 kilometers is an uphill- 3 hour climb? And a roadless one. These challenges are known to a lot of poor communities in the region that Kalahi-CIDSS serves.

But this is not the only case for a barangay in Kumalarang. Limamawan is an uphill barangay which has around 96 Subanen households. Located around 3 kilometers from the hi-way, at around 1,350 feet above sea level, the trail to and from the barangay entails a lot of adventure to the community and all the more to the people who visits the area for the provision of basic social services.

For one, they do not have road. The community created a path from which they can easily climb up and in going down. The terrain is too stiff and the path couldn’t sustain due to the excessive rainfall in the area that it washes away and turns into mud-like form. Once this turned muddy, it becomes too dangerous to pass, and it tends to become too slippery that if not careful, one could slip into the cliff.

BSMPC Chairperson Marilou Tabiliran welcome the guests during the turn-over ceremony of the Concreting of Uphill Stairway with 3 Interval Sheds

“Mahirap ang buhay, lalo kapag magbababa ng benta, mga saging, kamote, utan. Lisod ang agianan , wala’y kuryente, solar lang source”, expressed by Marilou P. Tabiliran, BSPMC Chairperson of the said sub-project.

(Life is difficult, especially when we need to bring our produce downtown like banana, crops and vegetables. The road is hard to pass, no source of electricity, only by solar).

It is also equally dangerous on dry days, when one could be caught up in the middle of the scorching hit carrying heavy baggage, as the trail will tire you and dry you up.

But all these are their everyday grind. Bringing with them sacks of farm produce, most of the time it get wasted due to difficulty and inconvenience in transporting these downtown.

Most of them earn their living through farming, as the environment is suitable for growing crops, corn, and vegetables. Despite the meager income, through these they were able to feed their families and even send their kids to school.

However, they believe that they can do better with their harvest if the path is in good condition considering that they can’t make use of motorcycle or any form of vehicle in climbing.

During Cycle 3 Implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS, their proposed sub-project  “Concreting of Uphill Stairway” was prioritized. But the implementation was confronted with a lot of challenges particularly in the hauling of materials, the labor group, and the weather and terrain condition. All these had factored in the untimely completion of the sub-project. Just imagine the difficulty in bringing all these materials, sacks of cement, steelbar, metal roofing and wood at such height. But the community was so determined to finish the sub-project, to them it’s their most aspired project. So they tried to help in any possible way to get the job done with the help also of the Local Government.

By April 30, 2019, the Concreting of Uphill Stairway with 3 Interval Sheds was turned-over to the community. The sub-project which has a total cost of Php1,977,780.00 has a 1,950 concrete step with steel handgrip and interval sheds as resting station.       

 “Mas dali ang paglakaw , panahon sa ulan dili na danlug. Sa mga estudyante sayo na ang ilang pagnaog sa highschool. Sa mag-uma mapadali na ang pagagi kay dili na danlug sa panahon sa ulan”, shared by Marilou P. Tabiliran, BSPMC Chairperson of the said sub-project.

With the completion, the Limamawans is looking forward to a better returns of farm produce when transporting, safe passage for students, and easier access of basic social services come sunny or even rainy season.

Indeed for them, who have found shelter in the comfort of the mountain, climbing home is worth every step. Kalahi-CIDSS is a poverty reduction program that aims to improve the delivery of social services in poor communities. Local residents are empowered to engage in planning and implementation of community projects that would best address their needs.

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My Son, My Classmate

Remember how as a kid in kindergarten, your mom or dad would bring you to class and wait outside the classroom until your class is done? Norberto Kuan feels exactly just like that all over again. But this time, his mom will no longer wait outside but rather sit with him inside his (or should we say ‘their’) classroom.

Melanie Kuan, 32, is the widowed mother of Norberto and will soon be his classmate in school. Both of them will enroll in the Alternative Learning System (ALS), a parallel learning system of the government that provides a practical option to the existing formal instruction.

Both Melanie and Norberto finished Grade 6 and hopefully make it to the ALS program. The other children of Melanie, Nurmilya (14 y/o) and Noemi (12 y/o) are in regular schooling at Katipunan National High School in Zamboanga del Norte in Grade 9 and Grade 7, respectively.

When asked about her decision to be back in school, Melanie said that she always had this dream of finishing a course and soon find a better job to provide the needs of her children.

Currently, Melanie’s source of income is by making roof materials made from nipa palm leaves and selling it for thatched houses. This is what keeps them surviving since her husband passed away in 2013.

She manages her P100/day earning for their daily consumption and her children’s school needs. Melanie knows that her income is not enough and this

is felt by her children. Because of this, Melanie’s eldest child, Norberto, 16 years old, decided to find a job to help his family. The help he does however cost him his attendance to school.

Norberto started to commit absences in school and soon stopped schooling to focus on his job. He could not balance his time and energy from doing school works and driving tricycle to earn a living.

Meanwhile, as a member of the country’s conditional cash transfer program known as the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program, Melanie attends to its monthly meeting called the Family Development Session (FDS) where she learns about how to manage a family, financial literacy, and other government services among others. Her attendance to the FDS introduced her to the Alternative Learning System of the government.

Melanie saw this as an opportunity and decided to pursue her education, now, together with her son. She talked to Norberto about this education scheme and because Norberto also has a dream, it was not difficult for him to say yes.

According to Melanie, this is also advantageous for her because she will be able to oversee her son and his performance in school as how most parents would.

Nurmilya, Melanie’s second child, expressed her opinion about this decision, during a conversation with the Municipal Link.“Nalipay mi cay mu-eskwela na si Kuya balik ug si Mama. Aku sila tabangan para di sila maglisud mag-adjust. (We’re happy that my big brother and my mom decided to return to school. I will help them so that they will not find it difficult to adjust,)” Nurmilya said.

As a preparation, both Nurmilya and Noemi help their mother as she goes back to schooling by sharing what they have learned in the regular education system. Norberto, on the other hand, still drives tricycle during the day and reads his old notebooks at night to prepare his mind for the school days.

Melanie thought that she can be her children’s inspiration to finish their studies as well.

Their school class will begin in June 03. Norberto, Nurmilya, and Noemi are monitored children beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the DSWD. Each of them receives 500 pesos as a support to the educational needs such as school supplies, projects, etc.

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Farmer Field School for IPs

The Bio-Intensive Gardening (BIG) has brought about many positive effects in the lives of the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program particularly in their daily consumption and nutritional needs. Apart from this, the BIG also has helped the beneficiaries augment their income by selling fruits and vegetables from their backyard and communal gardening.

The same is true with the beneficiaries of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) Program of the 4Ps in Barangay Palinta, Municipality of Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay.

As an Indigenous People’s Group, (Subanen) whose primary source of income is on farming and agriculture, the community had no issues and difficulties starting a Bio-Intensive Gardening in the area. In fact, they were even elated to know that the program encourages its beneficiaries to have a backyard, container, and/or communal gardening.

In partnership with the LGU Municipal Agriculture’s Office, the MCCT beneficiaries were able to acquire seedlings to plant okra, talong, atsal, pipino, mais, kamatis, and paliya. They were able to harvest 50 kilos pipino but only 10 kilos was sold and the 40 kilos was divided and distributed to all beneficiaries for consumption.

The LGU saw that the beneficiaries are able to sustain gardening for their consumption and income augmentation. Due to this positive result, the LGU provided additional support to the beneficiaries to further enhance their skills in farming hence the Farmer Field School (FFS) was created.

The FFS serves as an avenue to provide the beneficiaries helpful strategies in cultivating their gardens. The sessions lasted for 5 months starting May until September of this year. 33 out of 54 beneficiaries were enrolled to these sessions and graduated last September 11, 2018.

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Pantawid Beneficiary’s Bio-Intensive Gardening receive Modelong Gulayan Award

Walda Sardania, 29 year old is a registered Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiary under the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer program for Indigenous People (MCCT-IP) batch 1B. She lives at Purok Katipunan, Barangay Magdaup, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay Province. Last July 2012 Walda got married to Rian. She is a plain housewife to her husband and a responsible parent to their two (2) children. Walda’s husband, Rian, is also a very supportive husband. He engaged into buy and sell livelihood to provide the needs of his family. Since Rian is busy with his livelihood Walda attends to the needs of the family.

Walda is passionate about vegetable farming. She plants string beans, Kangkong, Eggplant and Camote. Walda and Rian plant in their backyard as well as in empty containers for family consumption. Other than for consumption, Walda also gains P20.00 – P 50.00 from the vegetables that she sell to their neighbors. The additional income is used as allowance of their children in school.

Last July 26, 2017 Walda is one of the contestants of “Modelong Gulayan 2017” which was initiated by  Municipal Agriculture’s Office participated by Pantawid beneficiaries in different barangays in  accordance with the celebration of “68th Araw ng Ipil”. Luckily the household garden got the third price in the backyard gardening. They received a certificate and cash amounting to five hundred pesos (P 500.00). The price that they received was used as additional capital to their sari-sari store.

Walda is also a member and recipient of the Landcare Foundation and a vice president of the project in their area in partnership with the Municipal Agriculture’s Office. The aim of the program is to capacitate the participants on how to maximize the small space of the backyard using the recycled container/materials considering that their community is located in the coastal area.  Also the said project provides technical assistance on how to make organic fertilizer to be used in their vegetable garden.

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“No one is too poor to give”

When you think of doing charity, you would probably think of people who have more in life that they can afford to share with people who have less. That is what usually happens in most cases. But this story will make you think otherwise.

Can poor people do charity? Or a more appropriate question would be: could poor people give what they don’t usually get?

This is a story of 3 children who come from poor families but have exemplified a gesture that is worth emulating.

Jane Marian Alberastine, 15, from Gutalac, Zamboanga del Norte, Lovely Cris Cagas, 14, from Pitogo, Zamboanga del Sur, and Angeline Esteban, 14, from Sibulao, Zamboanga City are ordinary Junior High School students under DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or more popularly known as the 4Ps.

These exemplary children, along with over 80 more Pantawid Pamilya children, were recently invited to attend the 7th National Children’s Congress (NCC) in San Juan City, Manila in line with the celebration of National Children’s Month.

Hailing from the farthest parts of Mindanao, these children are used to a simple life in the province. No malls, no busy streets, no restaurants and fast-food stores. It is their first time to travel to the big and busy city in Manila and so they kind of feel strange and excited at the same time to the new environment.

During the course of the workshop, they were given gift certificates from a fast-food chain as simple rewards to being good role models in their respective communities particularly for the youth.

Jane, Lovely, and Angeline, together with their guardians, decided to stroll around the big city and enjoy the city lights as they sparkle like stars in the sky. They enjoyed the grandeur of the mall that is loaded with stores of bags, dresses, shoes, and many more; the enticing sound of the city noise that somehow seem to be a new kind of music to the ears of the children; and the sight of tall buildings that they rarely or do not see in their respective provinces.

After what seemed to be an endless stroll, they finally decided to take a rest and feed their hungry bellies using the gift certificates that were given to them by a fast-food chain. As they enjoy the food that they ordered in the store, they saw several boys and girls, who are most likely younger than them, that sell sampaguita outside the store.

The three children were amazed by the hardwork of the kids that they saw. It was already past 9PM yet they were still on the street trying to convince by-passers to purchase the sampaguita necklaces that they sell.

Because of their appreciation to the kids, the girls decided to bring them food outside and share their blessings with them.

“Grabe. Ang sarap sa pakiramdam. Nag-thank you pa sila sa amin. (It is so heartwarming. They even thanked us for it),” said Angeline.

“Ang sweet nila. Tinawag pa nila akong Ate tapos naghug kame. (They are so sweet. They even called me big sister then we hugged),” said Jane.

“Akala ko talaga nung una katulad sila ng mga napapanood ko sa TV at pelikula. Pero hindi pala. Ang babait nila. (At first, I really thought that they are the same as how they are portrayed in TV and movies. But I found out that they are not. They are so kind),” Lovely realized.

Even though these Pantawid children belong to the poor families in the country, they have showed that charity and compassion is in the heart of every person regardless of his or her strata in life. This proves that one does not really have to have all the wealth in the world to be able to give and share.

The 4Ps, as a program that promotes the welfare of the poor, invests in health, education, and even more so in building the foundation and values of every beneficiary towards achieving a Bayang Mapagkalinga.


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“Realizing Dreams, Building Future”

“Mahirap talaga ang buhay lalo na kapag wala kang maayos na trabaho sa lipunan.”

This is how Felicitas M. Nonong, 37 years old describes how her life runs every day. She and her husband and four children live in Sitio Asinan, Brgy. Kasayangan, Zamboanga City.

“Naglalako at nagbebenta ako ng gulay dati. Nagigising ako ng alas dos ng umaga para mamalengke tapos wala na akong pahinga hanggang gumabi. Alas sais ng umaga magluluto na ako ng gulay para ibenta. Tapos pagdating ng alas tres ng hapon maglalako ako ng gulay.” She said.

Exhaustion and fatigue was expressed through Felicitas’ eyes as she shared the story of her everyday life. Doing this for a year to be able to provide for the family, she earns Php800 out of her Php300 capital a day. However, just like everybody else, she has her physical limits. It came to a point where she had to be hospitalized due to lack of sleep, fatigue and high blood pressure. Felicitas pushed herself too much to provide for her family, and stress caught up with her.

“Masakit sa loob ko kapag humihingi ang mga bata ng kailangan nila lalo na sa eskwelahan tapos wala kang maibigay.” She sadly said.

Felicitas’ husband, Roland 40 years old, works as a security guard. He earns 4,500 pesos per month which apparently cannot suffice their needs. Aside from the basic needs at home, and the needs of the children at school, they had to pay for their rent.

Felicitas made sure that her children had money in their pockets to be able to commute to and from school. She wants her children to experience the exact opposite of what she’s going through every day just to earn for a living. Life was never easy for them, since they had to take care of one of their children who had “special needs”. However, they never saw him as a burden, but a blessing. She makes sure that her son is settled before she leaves home for work. That’s why Felicitas was thankful when she became a Pantawid beneficiary in the year 2013. The educational assistance she received was really huge relief for her children.

One day, their parent leader in Pantawid announced that Skills Training will be offered by the Sustainable Livelihood Program of DSWD. She felt lucky when she was included in the list because one of the beneficiaries backed out, and she felt that this would become a very good opportunity for her and her family.

They were 25 of them who trained under Housekeeping for 15-days held at the Barangay Hall in partnership with the Barangay of Kasanyangan. After the training they received starter kits which included a pair of shoes, apron and a shirt. After the training’s culmination they immediately went to Ozamis City for the assessment with 3,000 pesos in their pockets and free accommodation.

Through Felicitas’ effort and hardwork, she passed the assessment and acquired a National Certificate II in Housekeeping.

“Masaya talaga ako kase nakapasa ako. Habol ko talaga tong certificate kase para maka-apply ako ng trabaho.” Felicitas Said happily.

A clever Felicitas applied for work while on training. A week after her assessment in Ozamis she was hired in a known hotel in Zamboanga City, the LM Hotel.

She now earns minimum wage by working 6 days a week cleaning function rooms in a hotel in the city.

Felicitas and her family were able to acquire a house through the help of her sibling. It was a secondhand house sold by the government which they renovated from their own money. They are now able to set aside a little amount since they no longer have to pay for rent. Even now that Felicitas is employed, she still walks 45 minutes to and from work every day, just to be able to save a little bit more.

“Sayang kung ipamasahe ko pa ang pera, sanay naman din ako. Yung 30 pesos na pamasahe pwede pang pandagdag yun sa baon ng mga anak ko. Masakit sa loob ko kapag humihingi ang mga bata sakin tapos wala akong maibigay.” Said Felicitas emotionally.

It really shows how Felicitas values every penny that she earns.

“Dati nung hindi pa ako nakapagtrabaho naglalako at nagbebenta ako ng gulay. Dahil sa SLP na binigay ng DSWD nakapagtrabaho ako. Nakakatulong na din ako sa asawa at mga anak ko. Kung ano yung mga pangangailangan nila naibibigay ko na. Natutulungan ko na ang pamilya ko, at nagkaroon ng kahit konti pero pagbabago ang buhay namin. Maraming salamat!” – Felicitas

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Tiis-Padyak for Anak

Saturnino and Vergelda Hamol-awon met at a garments factory in Manila where they were both working back in 1984. He was printing customized shirts while she was a seamstress. It was as if fate brought them together because they later learned that both of them come from the same province and the same municipality for that matter. Unfortunately, the circumstances did not allow their budding story to flourish at that time. It was their company’s policy that two employees cannot have romantic relationship to avoid personal issues in the workplace. So their love story never really crocheted until 1990.

January 31, 1990, Saturnino celebrated a double occasion on that day –it was his birthday and at the same time, it was the day that Vergelda finally entrusted her heart to him with a sweet YES.

And their inspiring story began to knit together.

March 1991 –Saturnino and Vergelda lived a simple life as a couple in the Municipality of Tukuran, Province of Zamboanga del Sur. They just got back from Manila to start their own family in their humble hometown. The establishment of a family sparked inspiration for the couple to persevere and improve the status of their living condition. With this union, God blessed them with a child that became their source of joy in each day that passed by.

Years went by and their small family started to grow. Saturnino realized that he had to double his effort to provide a comfortable life for his children. So he sold banana-cue on the street that was prepared by his wife, Vergelda. Their tandem was working to suffice the needs of a small family.

Their eldest child, Kristine Bernadette, could even recall not feeling the poverty that they were in.

Nakahinumdum ku sa una, mga 5 years old pa ku atu, wa jud ku naka-feel nga pobre mi kay gi-make sure gud sa akung ginikanan nga kumportable ang amuang kinabuhi. In fact, every afternoon, naa jud ku cup cake. (I remember when I was 5 years old, I never felt that we were poor because my parents ensured that we live a comfortable life. In fact, I had cupcake on my hand every afternoon),” Kristine Bernadette said.

Though in reality, their life was far from being comfortable. Mr. and Mrs. Hamol-awon just never wanted their children to feel troubled because of their living condition.

Saturnino used all of his resources to generate additional income for the family. He went from selling merienda on the street, to working at Shell Depot, until he decided to purchase a PEDICAB and use it as their main source of income.

Under the heat of the scorching sun, a father is willing to withstand the difficulty of juggling his responsibilities to his family bearing in mind that for every turn of the pedal is a step closer to achieving their dreams.

Every single day, Saturnino untiringly roams around the street to give passengers a ride in exchange of a few coins. This is how he was able to provide for the daily consumption of his family and school expenses of his children. The pedicab served as his way to get through difficult situations in life brought about by poverty.

In 2011, Saturnino worked as a Guard Aid with shifting schedules in the morning and at night. In between shifts, he uses his time to still drive his pedicab and earn extra.

Until eventually, his hard work paid off because they were able to purchase four (4) additional pedicab units by the year 2015. Not only that he is able to provide for his family but he is also able to help his neighbors by giving them livelihood opportunities and become better heads of households as well.

According to Mrs. Vergelda Hamol-awon, money was never an issue in the family. They have never fought over financial problem. Surely they have had financial difficulties in life but they make sure that when crises come, they face it with solution.

The grant that they receive from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program aids in their daily needs and necessities in school. The remaining amount is spent in their piggery business venture for future use. They were able to purchase 2 pigs and as of today, they already have 9 pigs in total.

Their eldest child, Kristine Bernadette, who is currently taking her doctoral degree in Physics, also helps them in their financial needs. Since she is a DOST scholar and receives monthly allowance, part of her stipend goes to her siblings for educational support.



The accomplishments of the children are considered the milestones in the life of Hamol-awon family. The fact that Saturnino and Vergelda were able to deliver their children to school despite the minimal income from driving pedicab and weaving fish nets is an achievement that is commendable at all levels. It reflects the perseverance, determination and resiliency of a Filipino family.

The objective of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to create a mindset of value for education is really evident in the accomplishments of Hamol-awon family. Kristine Bernadette, seeing an opportunity in the world of Physics, continues her education by taking up Doctor of Philosophy in Physics at the Mindanao State University. Her pursuit for new learning brought her to other countries including Vietnam and Japan. Currently, she is back in Japan to present her thesis to an international audience.

Jefferson, bringing with him the gratitude that he feels for the social services that his family received, is currently a registered and a practitioner in Social Work. Benedict, 23, has finished Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. But instead of pursuing a job in the teaching profession, he answers the spiritual calling as a missionary in the Jesus The Great Shepherd Fellowship, Inc.

Kirlstine Jane, on the other hand, will soon finish Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education. While Dominic and Joshua are both performing very well as Grade 11 and Grade 4 pupils, respectively.



Roles and tasks in the household are shared by every member of the family. Saturnino wakes up early in the morning to prepare their breakfast while the rest of the family members take turns in doing household chores such as sweeping inside and outside the house, watering the plants, etc.

And while Saturnino is on the street to earn money, his wife Vergelda, on the other hand, weaves fish nets at home which she will later sell to their neighbors for extra income. Vergelda says that she is assisted by their second child, Jefferson, whom she taught how to weave and now is more knowledgeable than her.

In this case, we can see that productive and reproductive roles are shared by the husband, the wife, and their children. Mr. and Mrs. Hamol-awon also inspire other couples in their community by sharing their insights about Gender and Development as Resource Speakers during Barangay Assemblies. Vergelda is also empowered as a woman because of her contribution and involvement in KALAHI-CIDDS.

During the regional search for Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya last July, Hamol-awon Family wore a customized statement shirt that reads “Created with a Purpose.” The family believes that they were called by the Almighty to be an instrument to fulfill His will. Their purpose includes touching other people’s lives by sharing their personal story of success.

Together with the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Hamol-awon Family will continue to share their stories and many other success stories of program beneficiaries that are worth emulating and get inspiration from.

Hamol-awon Family will represent Region IX in the National Search for Pantawid Pamilya which will be held during the celebration of this year’s National Family Week.


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