“Nang dahil sa 4Ps ay mas lumakas ang loob ko na lumaban sa buhay. Tumaas ang pangarap ko para sa aking pamilya at natuto akong mas pagbutihin pa ang aking pag aaral dahil ayokong mabigo ang programang patuloy na nagpapaabot ng tulong sa amin.”
(Because of the 4Ps, I became stronger and more determined to continue to fight for life. I started to dream high for my family. I learned to strive even harder to finish my studies because I do not want to fail the 4Ps that is helping our family.)
Looking back, Angela Bernabe Pioquid, of Batan, Aklan, cannot help but thank the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps for bringing hope to her and her family.
Overcoming life’s challenges
Angela and her five siblings were raised solely by their mother after their father went to Manila to work but never came back.
“Isa lamang ako na ordinaryong mamamayan sa bayan ng Batan dito sa probinsya ng Aklan. Bata palang ako ay nasubok na ang katatagan ng aking loob sa iba’t ibang hamon ng buhay na ipinagkaloob sa akin. Lumaki akong walang ama. Bunso ako sa anim na magkakapatid. Ang isa kong nakatatandang kapatid ay may kapansanan sa pandinig habang ang isa naman ay namatay dahil sa sakit. Ang tatlo ko pa na mga kapatid ay may kanya-kanyang pamilya na,” Angela explained.
(I’m just an ordinary citizen in the town of Batan here in the province of Aklan. Throughout my childhood, I experienced various challenges in life. I grew up without a father. I am the youngest of six siblings. One of my older siblings is hearing impaired while the other one died due to illness. My other three siblings already have their own families.)
Angela added: “Sabi ng aking ina, siyam na buwan pa lamang ako nang iniwan kami ni ama upang magtrabaho sa Manila ngunit hindi na ito nakabalik pa. Nabalitaan na lang daw nila na may iba na itong pamilya. Wala rin akong mga kapatid na propesyonal, walang magagarang mga kagamitan na maipagmalaki sa iba.”
(My mother said that I was only nine months old when my father left us to work in Manila but he never came back. They just heard that he has another family. All my siblings did not finish college, no fancy things to brag about.)
Angela’s mother has no permanent job. Her mother tried different part-time jobs and endured all the hardships that came along just to provide for the needs of her children.
“Bata pa lang ako nang mamulat ako sa masakit sa damdaming kapalaran na dinaranas namin at natuto akong magpahalaga at tumanggap ng pagkatalo. Dahil dito, natuto akong mangarap, simpleng pangarap na maibigay ko ang uri ng buhay taliwas sa kung anong mayroon kami,” she continued.
(I was still young when I became aware of the painful fate we have. I learned to value what I have and accept defeat. Because of these experiences, I learned to dream a simple dream—to just provide a life different from ours.)
“Pagbutihin mo ang pag-aaral mo nang sa ganun palagi kang makakain ng espesyal na pagkain na ito.” This was the advice from Angela’s mother that motivated her to continue her studies.
Not long after, they became a member of the Developers Association in their barangay. Angela’s mother was given an opportunity to borrow money to invest in livelihood which she used to buy fishing nets.
Angela’s older brother, who is hearing impaired, was the one helping her mother in catching fish while Angela was assigned to sell the fish around their neighborhood. Angela tried to manage her time. She attended school from Monday to Friday and helped in sustaining their livelihood every Saturday and Sunday.
A ray of hope
Due to their family’s condition, the Pioquid family was chosen to become a beneficiary of the 4Ps in 2009.
Despite being content with a simple life for her family, Angela learned to dream big again.
“Gusto kong patunayan na hindi sila [4Ps] nagkamali na isa ako sa mga napili nilang tulungan. Ang 4Ps ang naging pag-asa ko upang makamit ang mga ambisyon ko sa buhay.”
(I want to prove that they [4Ps] did not make a mistake in identifying and choosing our family as one of the beneficiaries. The 4Ps has been my hope to achieve my ambitions in life.)
Through the education cash grants of the 4Ps, Angela was able to attend classes until she finished college. She studied at the Aklan State University—her dream school.
Angela was a consistent honor student and always a Dean’s Lister every semester. She was also chosen to become a scholarship recipient of the Provincial Government College Scholarship.
Angela’s diligence and hard work paid off when she graduated Cum Laude and passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers.
Angela and the whole Pioquid family are very grateful to the 4Ps and the DSWD. She said the program has been a big part of their lives.
Angela narrated: “Hindi matawaran ang saya na aking naramdaman sa kadahilanang natupad ko na ang aking pangarap. Lubos akong nagpapasalamat sa mga taong walang sawang sumusuporta sa amin, lalo na ang 4Ps na naging sandigan ng aming pamilya noong panahong lumalaban kami sa kahirapan. Sana marami pa kayong matulungan na benepisyaryo para matupad ang kanilang mga pangarap sa buhay.”
(The joy I felt after fulfilling my dream was indescribable. I am very grateful to those people who supported our family, especially those from the 4Ps, who have been helping our family during the times when we were struggling. I hope you can help many more beneficiaries to fulfill their dreams in life.)
Angela was among the 4Ps monitored children who fulfilled their dream to have a college degree through the 4Ps educational grant.
4Ps is a national anti-poverty program that invests in human capital development and in the education and health of poor households, particularly of children aged 0-18 years old.
The program is designed to assist students like Angela by providing their family with cash grants that can be used for their education and nutritional needs, necessities, food, and transportation allowance, among others.
The Pioquid family is one of the 4.3 million beneficiaries of 4Ps nationwide whose journey towards an improved quality of life is marked by their sheer determination and strong belief in the importance of education, complemented by modest help from the government.