Nag-ulam ng toyo, asin, mantika: 4Ps beneficiary finished studies, now working in DSWD

Have you ever considered "soy sauce" as a luxury when your family has it as a condiment for meals because of poverty?

For Cris Guiral, 30 years old from Calintaan, Occidental Mindoro, they were considered fortunate if they could have soy sauce or cooking oil for meals when they were young because often, they would only season their rice with salt just to get through the day.

4Ps beneficiary finished studies, now working in DSWD
Photo courtesy: Facebook/Cris Guiral via Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP)

His father works as a fisherman with no regular income, and his mother also has no source of livelihood.

However, poverty did not hinder him from dreaming of overcoming hardships and succeeding in life.

He also goes to school without a pencil, paper, and notebook; and even without any money or baon for recess.

Fortunately, when he entered high school, he became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. This enabled them to have some money for buying food and, in some way, supporting his educational needs.

In an interview, he shared that after high school, he enrolled at the University of the Philippines Los Baños and pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, even though he wasn't sure if he could manage it due to financial constraints.

So, similar to the strategy of many financially challenged students aspiring to earn a diploma, he studied during the day and worked at night.

Aside from studying, they were able to survive college because of loans from his mother. Fortunately, the lenders trusted them, as the payments were sourced from the allowance they received through the 4Ps program. Additionally, they had to take out loans because his two younger brothers were also in college, and their father had suffered a stroke.

Fortunately, Cris' siblings are resourceful and diligent in their studies as well. They received cash grants for their allowances under the Expanded Students’ Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) from the DSWD, in partnership with the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Budget and Management.

One of them graduated with honors, earning a cum laude distinction in the Bachelor of Science in Education Major in Math program at Mindoro State University–Bongabong Campus. The other one graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Mindoro State University–Labangan Campus.

But how are Cris and his family doing now?

It seems that Cris expresses gratitude to the DSWD. Currently, Cris is working on a contractual basis at DSWD-Cordillera as a municipal link personnel under the Socialized Livelihood Program.

His two brothers became jail guard officers in Occidental Mindoro. They are currently supporting the education of their two younger siblings.

“Huwag nating sayangin ang oportunidad kapag tinutulungan tayo ng gobyerno. Gamitin natin sa tama ang perang mula sa gobyerno para gumanda ang ating buhay para sa ating pamilya,” this was Cris' advice to those in similar situation.

“Kung hindi sa 4Ps, baka gaya pa rin ng dati ang buhay ko—nag-uulam ng asin sa kanin.

“Dahil sa oportunidad na ipinagkaloob sa akin, ang mga anak ko ay kakain nang hindi toyo, mantika o asin at kanin lang dahil may iba pang pagkain na nakahain sa aming mesa,” he added.

On the other hand, their mother became a barangay councilor in their community.

Congratulations, Cris!

— Richard, The Summit Express

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