It was a hot sunny morning after a two-hour trek from the rocky terrains of Barangay Tacadang, Kibungan, Benguet when the DSWD team reached sitio Bekes where the family of Sabado and Lunesa Lao-an, a former beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) happily lives. 

Umali kayo sinan kad-an me ay ada-dayo (Welcome to our very remote place),” Sabado uttered in awe while he eagerly looks at the team who were all in sweat running after their breath because of the tiring trek. 

His 51-year-old wife, Lunesa, was in the kitchen busy brewing coffee. Lunesa beamed in a smile after seeing the bared faces of the DSWD staff. 

While the team was taking a rest, their 3rd child, Oliver, offered some coffee as a way of welcoming the team. Oliver is currently a Barangay Kagawad of Tacadang. 

The hospitable gesture of Lao-an family gave a relief to the team as they continue to know their life’s progress. 


Challenged but never giving up

The family lives in an isolated agricultural community wherein the only way to reach their place is through hiking and trekking. 

Blessed with nine children, the family lives a modest life with farming as their only bread and butter for survival. They cultivate rice, sweet potato, ginger, and banana for consumption.

The family’s life before was challenging but they embraced it with optimism, grit, and hard work. Due to financial struggles and diverse geographical landscape, Lunesa and Sabado only finished grade 3. 

The almost inaccessible landscape of their community is the big challenge for the family, but, this did not deter them from believing that education has the transformative power to make their life better. 

“Even if our place is isolated, we do not see the distance as a hindrance to give our children the education they deserve,” Sabado enthused in their local language.

Their family became a 4Ps beneficiary in 2012. According to Lunesa, their inclusion to the Program has made a big impact in their family. 


Grateful, optimistic, and stepping forward 

Sabado and Lunesa did not depend on the Program alone, instead, the opportunity gave them courage to double their efforts in making their life better. Apart from tilling their farm, they also do labor works in their community. 

According to Lunesa, the assistance provided by the Program has been instrumental in fulfilling the education of their children. 

The hard work of Sabado and Lunesa pays off after two of their children finished their chosen career. 

Their 4th child, Lebeny, finished Bachelor of Science in Statistics and is currently working as an Administrative Staff at the Benguet General Hospital in the town of La Trinidad. Marson, the 5th child, has just renewed his contract as a teacher in a private institution in the same area. 

With this, the Lao-an family graduated from the Program in 2023 after they attained a Level III or Self-Sufficient status from their latest Social Welfare and Development Indicator (SWDI), a tool being used by the Program to assess the life improvement and capacity level of the beneficiaries. 

Meanwhile, the family shared that four of their children are still in school. The couple is optimistic that they can provide for the needs of their children with all the life learnings they gained from the Program and with all the ways they can. 

Interestingly, Sabado shared that the most important lesson he learned from the Program is to be a good teacher while being a model parent inside his own family.

“Insulo da sinnay 4Ps ay masapul dakami et mistolo abe sin uneg di beey (They taught in the Program that we should be a good teacher inside our own family),” Sabado proudly shared. 

The Lao-an family attributed the significant improvement in their lives from their active participation and willingness to learn from the 4Ps activities like the Family Development Session and active involvement in community activities. “Ulay nu nakaan kami sin programa et yamanen me paylang tan naidawatan kamis tsansa ay maki innadal sin ad addu ay topic et namwaw abe di ta siya ituloy me ay manpasiged sin biyag me (Even if we graduated from the Program, we are still grateful because we were given the chance to learn from the different topics and that is already a big help for us to improve our lives better),” Sabado ended with confidence. ###DSWD-CAR Social Marketing Unit – Marlo C. Abyado, Jr., 4Ps Information Officer

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