I remember the time when we were still living with my in-laws’ house at Poblacion, Sabangan, Mt. Province. I described our situation as a very difficult one because my husband and I had no work. We were financially dependent on them. I swallowed my pride and became a good spouse to their son and best mom to their grandchildren because these were the only simple ways to show my gratitude.  I was not able to go to college after finishing secondary education because my parents cannot afford to send me in the university. It was hard to find a decent job without a college diploma.

I do not have relatives here to rely on because I was born and raised in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. However, my in-laws treated me as their own daughter and gave me and my family their full support.

In 2009, we were interviewed by one of the staffs of NHTS-PR. I just answered the questions honestly without asking the purpose of the conversation. In January 2011, we were informed that my household was selected as beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Within the three years that I have been in the program, I can attest that my household experienced so many changes.

My children now go to school without worrying about what whey will eat for the whole day. They now write anytime with the pad paper we bought them from the grants we receive every two months. They study now comfortably with the uniform and shoes that we shopped for them right after we receive their education grants. We do not have to worry about their health and nutrition anymore since their regular check-ups constantly update us of their physical condition.

I am proud that my children are consistent honor students. Roberto III, our second child, is an honor student since Grade 1 until he reached 3rd year high school. Roberto who is now in his 4th year high school, represented his school in Math and Science Quiz Bee in 2013 in Bontoc, Mt. Province and won 1st place. Our third child, Jenny who is already a 1st year high school student, is also an achiever since Grade I to Grade 6. Her piece in Science Investigatory Project won 3rd place in Bontoc, Mt. Province last year. She will be competing in Abra any time this year to represent our province. Our youngest child, Jason who is a Grade 6 pupil, is also a consistent honor student since Grade 1. He represented his school in the Editorial Writing Contest in Filipino in Bauko, Mt. Province last November 2013 and ranked 3rd place. Jason will be going to Abra also this year to represent his school for the regional competition.

My husband and I were motivated to face the challenges of life. The program dared us to stand up with our own feet. Today, we finally rented a house for two hundred pesos a month. We also started raising a pig in 2010 and have enjoyed enough additional income for the family. We are still nurturing four pigs and one swine for the time being and we are still praying that their numbers will increase in due time through our own effort and the guidance of the Almighty God.

The topics that we learned in our monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS) directed us to become better members of our community. We become more active in the different activities in the community after consistently attending FDS. We constantly cooperate and participate in the community activities and events.

My husband is an active member of the Knight of Columbus of the Roman Catholic Church in our town. He also decided to extend his services to the public. Due to the strong support of our community as he was elected as Barangay Kagawad in May 2013 and was appointed as the Chairman of Tourism for Brgy. Poblacion, Sabangan, Mt. Province.Another blessing just arrived in our home. My husband’s desire to have a full-time job was fulfilled this month. He was just hired as a driller by Sta. Clara Corporation and will be posted in Napua, Sabangan, Mt.Province.

I cannot deny the fact that my family belongs to the less fortunate household of the community. However, with the help and assistance of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, I did not make poverty as a reason not to dream big for myself and my family. My husband and I are always doing our best to follow all the conditionalities of the Program to ensure the better future of our children and so that other Pantawid Pamilya households will emulate us. We are lucky that our children understand our situation and they never fail to cooperate in complying with the conditionalities of the Program.

I am Nelda Pangaral Buanzi, 38 years old and a proud Parent Leader of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. After more than three years in the Program, I would like to remind my fellow Pantawid Program beneficiaries that they should rely solely to the benefits they receive from the Program but they should also work harder to improve their household’s condition because the future will always be in your hands.# DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, Jomel Anthony V. Gutierrez as told by Nelda Buanzi

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