BAGUIO CITY — “Magsumikap at magsakripisyo tayo para kahit na anong hirap ang dumating, mananatiling matibay ang pamilya,” Ruth Daquioag shared in her message after bagging the grand prize at the Regional Search for the Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya 2014 held at the Summer Place Hotel, Baguio City last August 5.

The Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya is a yearly search conducted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to recognize its beneficiaries who have exemplified values that makes them role-models despite the challenges that poverty brings.

Exemplary Pantawid families from each province in the region were invited to join the regional search. A panel of judges interviewed each family and gave their scores based on the following criteria: the family’s character and values, their ability to express their thoughts, their participation in community activities, and their insights as to what a Huwarang Pamilya is. Invited as judges were Philippine Information Agency-CAR Director Helen Tibaldo, Department of Health-CAR Nurse Melanie June Caleno, and Happy Homes Development Incorporated President Juanita Villena.

Careful assessment of the supporting documents and the result of the panel interview revealed the Daquioag family from Conner, Apayao as the regional winner with a score of 91%. They charmed the judges with their success story which highlights their family’s strong unity and their inclination to help themselves instead of just depending on the cash grant.

“Dati, hindi namin mabili ang mga pangangailangan namin dahil hindi naman ganun kalaki ang kita ko bilang tricycle driver,” said Mr. Will Daquioag. “Pero dahil sa Pantawid Pamilya nabibili na namin ‘yung mga pangangailangan ng mga anak ko sa school,” he added.

“Nakita ng DSWD ang pangangailangan namin kaya nasali kami sa Pantawid Pamilya. Maliit na pera ‘yung cash grant pero napakalaking tulong sa amin,” said Ruth Daquioag. She also said that through the Family Development Sessions (FDS), a conditionality under the program, they learned how to open a savings account. With the money they saved, they were able to put up a small sari-sari store and buy a few pigs.

Ruth also taught herself how to recycle drinking straws into decorative plastic flowers which she sells for additional income. “Nakita ko ‘yung mga nakakalat na straw sa harap ng store namin kaya naisip kong irecycle at gawing dekorasyon para hindi lang nakakalat doon. Mapagkakakitaan pa,” she said. With her straw flower business growing, she was inspired to help her community. She taught her neighbors how to recycle and make plastic flowers as well. “Sabi nga nila, nasa basura ang pera,” she adds.

Empowered by the dreams they have for their children, Jimuel who wants to be an engineer, and Lean who is currently a 2nd year Bachelor of Science in Education student, Ruth and Will are determined to do what they can to give them a better life. “Ang edukasyon lang nila ang kaya naming ipamana. Kahit sinasabi ng lahat na galing lang kami sa kahirapan, kayang-kaya naming harapin ang lahat at mabago ang aming sitwasyon basta sabay-sabay at sama-sama kaming nagsusumikap,” said Ruth.

Meanwhile, DSWD-CAR Assistant Regional Director Edna S. Benitez takes pride in the accomplishment of the exemplary families. “We are very happy that we have our exemplary families who prove that the assistance that we provide them is well utilized. We are very proud that they excel despite the challenges that they face”, Benitez added.

Participants from other provinces were the Taguindodo family from Mt. Province (1st runner-up),  Pun-adwan family from Ifugao (2nd runner-up), Balusdan family from Benguet, Rivera family from Kalinga, and Tagura family from Abra.

The Daquioag family will represent the region in the National Search for Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya on September. nDSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, Ann Jennica R. Quirimit

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