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4Ps Alleviates Us from the Burden of Poverty: An Interview with Nor-aisa, Daughter of the Program Beneficiary

“It was only when my mother became a recipient of Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) when we began to feel the ease from our difficulties in life. My mother and my father do not have enough education that my father landed as a tenant farmer, from which we mainly earned our living. My mother plants vegetables and sell them to our neighbors, but harvest is very insignificant in helping our father assuage our economic difficulties”, said Nor-aisa Mamaonte Binatac”.


            The ugly face of poverty is a glaring reality for the family of Nor-aisa as could be seen in their dilapidated house, made of nipa and bamboos, where her family lives. Nor-aisa said, “Despite our hardship, we remained an intact family because we hold high values for love of family”.


She added “You know, when I was in elementary grades, I could always remember the days when we have no rice to eat; only kamote. My mother told me not to complain because she had to pay for a debt, which I surmised as inherent in a poor family to borrow money to fill in the gap of our daily expenses.


            “During my tender age, I used to bring to my father something to drink and eat. I was so hurt to see my father sweating under the blistering heat of the sun because of us. I then began to understand the meaning of poverty”, Nor-aisa said.


            The advent of 4Ps has improved our living conditions to a certain extent. We are no longer eating kamote and we no longer serve our father with the usual black coffee with cold water, but juice with cold water.


            Small the amount my mother is receiving from 4Ps, but it helps a lot in our lives as poorest of the poor family that every centavo is wisely spent to make both ends meet.

4Ps is a Blessing Among the Poorest: An Interview with Mrs. Omar

“Poorest as we are, it hurts me so gravely that my husband died leaving with me seven offsprings. It’s an agony I have suffered, both physical and mental, but I have to withstand the tribulation because of my children,” admits Mrs. Omar. “I could not imagine on how I could be able to take care of our children, “she added.


“Seven mouths to feed plus me is something I have so much to be worried for. The only thing that came into my mind then was to venture into business with the small amount left to me by my husband. I put up a small roving small sari-sari store in Pag-asinan Elementary School, which store I posted in said school during school days. I also accepted repairs of clothes/dresses, but my income in both businesses could not really suffice for my family basic needs, such as foods and clothings.” Mrs. Omar further elaborated.


“I was so desperate. Then I ventured into running for barangay kagawad (barangay council). I was surprised that I won. It’s an added income to sustain my family” she said.


She enthusiastically added “But in all those endeavors I have done for my family, I was so very appreciative of the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program not only on the financial assistance it has provided to my family, but the knowledge I have earned from the Family Development Sessions the program regularly conducted.” It has given me a lot of learning on our family and social responsibilities that I have even volunteered as Barangay Health Worker.


Mrs. JumHarija Januni, a 42 year-old Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary and a resident of Barangay San Raymundo, with a household numbers 156602007-0195-00862, is a mother of seven children.

According to her, before the program existed, she was having a difficulty sending her children to school because at that time she was a full time housewife while his husband Mr. Alih Januni was a part time laborer and carpenter who only makes P150.00 as their daily income. Such a meager income is aggravated by the nature of his job being seasonal. In most instances, my husband’s earnings could not make both ends meet.

In 2009, Mrs. Januni became a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps). She said the felt so fortunate the time she was informed as beneficiary of the program. “It is our long- time prayer to find an opportunity that could support for the education of their children. We do not want our children to be illiterate like us so we really aspire to see them finished their studies and have a decent job”, she said.

We received our first and second cash grant amounting to P5,200.00 and P9,800.00, respectively, in 2010. “We used the money for all the educational needs of our children”, Mrs. Januni said. According to her, their children are so overjoyed that for the first time their children are able to utilize new school supplies (new uniforms, shoes, etc.).

“Had it not been for the Pantawid Pamilya Program, life could continue to be miserable”, she asserted. She said the part of the cash grants they received is used to put up a mini sari-sari store and mini snack house (pagpapastilan). “We decided to put up a mini sari-sari store to augment our daily income to supplement our everyday needs like the allowances of our children and other basic necessities” she further stressed.

According to Mrs. Januni, the mini sari-sari store is indeed of great help to the family because there are times that her husband has no job. If no building is being constructed his husband has no income.

She said that the total revenue of the sari-sari store and mini snack house can reach P500 to P800 a day; just enough to satisfy their daily needs. But there are days when income is very low at P150 to P250, especially when there are no school classes.

Mrs. Januni emphasized that while program provides conditional cash grants to its beneficiaries, which are the dire need of poorest families like us, it also provides us a valuable investment. The program gives us the opportunity to mingle and socialize with other people, which we seldom do in the past. The camaraderie, the friendship and the knowledge that we are learning on various activities and through the Family Development Session are also beneficial that will surely help us during and after 4p’s implementation.

‘Malagguh in pagsukulanku ha Parinta Pilipinasna pawn in PantawidPamilya Program malagguh in katatabangan sin 4p’s ini ha pagiskul sin mgakaanakankuiban sin pagusahausahakuh “; from Januni family. (Many thanks to 4Ps. It has helped a lot, especially the schooling of children).

4Ps Has Helped Us for the Better: The Jumdail Family Story as Recounted by Atiya

Mr. Timbasil S. Jumdail, a 55-year old and a fisherman, has married twice. His first wife died leaving with him three (3) children who are now all married and living on their own.


            His second wife, Mrs. Atiya Enting Jumdali, is 33 years old and a residence of Sitio Subah, Barangay Bangas, Hadji Panglima Tahil, Sulu. The couple met at Jolo, Sulu by chance and felt in love with each other; and later decided to get married. They are blessed with six children; five boys and one girl. The family managed to earn a living from fishing and a small sari-sari store they operate, in which small capital they invested to the store was loaned from the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) as member.


            Said Atiya “Having six young children is hard to cope with. My husband’s earning as fisherman only averages about P3,000.00 a month and profit from our small sari-sari store could not really cope-up with our basic needs. I have no savings at all that one time when one of our children got sick, I had to borrow money with high interest. Such situation further worsens our poor standard of living”.


            “Suddenly I don’t know that we could become recipients of 4Ps- I and my kids. It’s a blessing I never expected. I was so very happy upon learning that as recipients we are also given cash grants” Atiya declared. I used the first grant provided to us as an added capital to our small sari-sari store. I used the small amount as an investment for the future of our children.  Fishing is not a lucrative business; it’s an unstable form of livelihood, more so that my husband is getting old,” she further said.


            “Further nourishing our environment of poverty was that we also became recipients of the first batch of Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran. We invested the P10,000.00 we received to our sari-sari store,”she happily said.


            “Learning from experiences, I have to really manage our small financial resources. It’s really a self-pity that in times of great need, we have nobody turn to and nobody would care for us”, she lamented.


            “I always talked with my husband for the future of our children. We plan and agree on certain plans we could conceive; and by the grace of Almighty Allah we were able to buy a modest house in Jolo for our children who are now studying in said capital town of Sulu,”Atiya said.


            “4Ps is a lot of learning experiences for us. Aside from its financial assistance, what gave us more meaning in life is the Family Development Session I used to attend. I have learned a lot from that session- the role of husband and wife, the proper rearing and managing our growing children and lot more. 4Ps has helped us changed our lives for the better,” Atiya concluded.


Mrs. Permalyn A. Mahalan, a Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiary of Barangay Alat, Jolo Sulu, lives a simple life. Her husband, Ibba Mahalin, works as a sidewalk vendor selling vegetables and food spices/seasonings. She helps her husband for the business, which they started with a small capital. But because they have eight siblings, the basic needs of the family are really hard to cope up with,

            Mrs. Mahalan already knew about 4Ps as a program for the poor. One day, a good neighborhood visited their house bringing good news that her name is listed among the potential beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya Program. She was so happy upon learning that she has a great chance to become a beneficiary of the program, which did come true.

In 2009, she received her cash grant amounting to of P8,000.00, which she said was her first time to hold such amount of money. She was able to pay the school fees of their children and buy a new school uniforms. And because their eldest daughter will be turning college soonest, they decided to use the remaining amount they received as additional capital to their business.

“We have to work hard to be able to send our children to school. My husband fervently hopes our children to finish their studies, because education is the only legacy we could hand over to them,” she said. She also said that with the help of the program, hard work and strong determination, their daily income has increased,

In 2010, the family was able to rent a small space at downtown Jolo, where they have established their Sari-Sari Store. They pay 100.00 pesos daily as rental because they sell items at a minimum price. Many people are buying from their store. They have lots of “suki” (patrons) that they are earning at least P1,500.00 daily.

Mrs. Mahalan said with profound gratitude, as could be gleaned from her facial expression, that the program is a big help to their lives. “The program becomes a vital instrument and a trigger to where we are now- from a mere sidewalk vendor to a more decent and formal-looking business- a Sari-Sari Store, she said.

For their initial success in business, she said that they will also rent another space to establish another Sari-Sari Store. They were also able to buy a second hand tricycle. If their children have no classes, they are the ones who manage the store while their father drives the tricycle to earn additional income.

From a sidewalk vendor and became 4Ps beneficiaries and then became a Sari-Sari Store owner, they are now able to build a semi-concrete house, which before is only made up of salvaged materials.

Despite being too busy with their business, Mrs. Manahan still manages to comply with her obligation to the program. She regularly attends the Monthly Family Development Session (FDS) other related activities, because she said that FDS is equally important to the cash grants as the knowledge gained from the session is of far-reaching implications in terms of family and community development.

“We wish to extend my deepest thanks and gratitude to the government for the chances and for the help extended to us through 4Ps. We have had already a daughter who finished college education,” she intoned. “We will always treasure the moments and experiences we have gone through being a recipient of the program. We also wish to extend our millions of thanks to President Benigno S. Aquino III, for pursuing with the program and to DSWD-Central Office, DSWD-ARMM, and partner line agencies of the autonomous region; and most especially to the ALMIGHTY ALLAH to whom we shall return in the life hereafter.

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