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People and Places

Former 4Ps beneficiary reaches dream to become a teacher

Rigine Ulgasan
Graduation photos of Rigine Ulgasan, a Pantawid sa Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiary who passed the 2022 Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET).

Holding on to her dream for a better life for her family, Rigine Ulgasan faced various challenges in life in order to become a teacher.

Rigine grew up as the eldest of four siblings in a simple household in Calatrava, Negros Occidental. Her father was a habal-habal driver while her mother was a Barangay Health Worker.

Because of poverty, her parents had to work multiple jobs to sustain their family.

“Hindi sapat ang kita ng aking mga magulang sa aming pang araw-araw na gastusin. Kaya minsan suma-sideline ng trabaho ang aking ama bilang isang magsasaka at sacada samantala ang aking ina ay minsan labandera, at manicurista. Basta lahat nalang ng pwedeng pasukan na trabaho napasukan na ng aking mga magulang para lang magkapera (The income of my parents are not enough for our daily expenses. My father had to take sideline jobs as a farmer and sacada, while my mother worked as a laundress and a manicurist. My parents took up several jobs just to provide for our family),” shared Rigine.

Despite the lack of resources, Rigine’s goal to finish her studies did not waver.

“Maraming mga tao ang nagmaliit sa amin kung bakit daw ako nag-aaral pa na halos hindi naman namin kaya. Pero lahat ng iyon ay binaliwala namin at nagpatuloy lang sa minimithi (Many people looked down on us and questioned why I continue to study when my parents cannot even make ends meet. But we ignored them, and just continued to chase our dream),” Rigine narrated.

However, the life of Rigine and her family changed when they became a beneficiary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Pantawid sa Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which is more popularly known as “4Ps”.

4Ps is a national anti-poverty program that invests in human capital development and in the health and education of poor households, particularly of children aged 0-18 years old.

The program is designed to assist students like Rigine by providing their family cash grants that can be used for their necessities, such as food, transportation allowance, education and nutritional needs, among others.

Aside from the 4Ps, Rigine also became a recipient of the free tuition fee program of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) which helped her finish her college degree with honors (cum laude).

Journey as a teacher

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Rigine’s life was again challenged because she was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, an auto-immune disorder that causes widespread inflammation and tissue damage in her body.

The pain brought by the disease prevented her to take the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET).

In 2022, when she was able to gradually recover from her illness, Rigine decided that it was her time to finally take the LET. She passed the exam with flying colors having garnered an 85.40% rating.

“Mahirap mag review na may iniinda kang sakit sa katawan. Parati kang nilalagnat ngunit patuloy pa rin akong lumalaban at humihingi ng lakas ng loob sa Diyos. (It was hard to review when you have a physical illness, but it did not prevent me to continue to fight and ask God for courage),” Rigine recollected.

When asked about her message for 4Ps beneficiaries like her, Rigine has this to say: “Hindi hadlang ang kahirapan sa taong may pangarap sa buhay, basta may pagsusumikap makakamit mo rin ang iyong tagumpay (Poverty is not an obstacle to a person who has a dream in life. As long as you continue to work hard you can achieve success).”

Rigine is currently serving as a volunteer teacher to be able to give back to their community as she waits for the approval of her application to teach in a public school.

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