Courageous mom saves family

Disaster preparedness lecture helped  Pantawid Pamilya mother save her family
DAO, Capiz -- Cristina Bendoy, 33, of Brgy. Manhoy in Dao, Capiz packed essentials such as flashlight, food and clothes when she and her family needed to evacuate their home to avoid the heavy rains and powerful wind brought by super typhoon Yolanda.

Community risk reduction and preparedness is one of the things that Cristina learned in the Family Development Sessions (FDS) of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. FDS, conducted once a month, serves as a venue where topics on effective parenting, husband and wife relationships, child development, laws affecting the Filipino family, gender and development and home management are discussed. In one of the sessions, beneficiaries were taught to be disaster-ready – a very useful topic as the Philippines is prone to typhoons and other disasters. So when typhoon Yolanda made a landfall on November 8 in Western Visayas and other parts of the country, Cristina and her family were ready.

“Bago kami umalis ng bahay papuntang evacuation center, nagdala ako sa bag ng flashlight, pagkain at damit para sa pamilya ko. Natutunan ko ang pagiging handa sa sakuna sa FDS,” said Cristina, a Set 4 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary.

Cristina’s house was one of the millions of properties that the typhoon destroyed. The wind blew off their roof, thus allowing the rain to enter her house and damage some of their properties.

 “Nag-alala ako para sa mga anak ko kaya kami umalis. Safe naman kami pero yung mga gamit naming naiwan sa bahay, nabasa talaga,” she narrated.

Cristina is grateful that aside from the cash grants her family receives from Pantawid Pamilya, she also learns many practical things when attending FDS.

She related, “Hindi talaga ako umaabsent sa FDS. Importante yung mga tinuturo sa amin tulad ng pagkakaroon ng tamang values at pagbibigay ng tulong sa kapwa, pagmamahalan, at pakikipagkaibigan.”

It would take several days for Bendoy family to completely recover from their difficult experience. But despite what happened, she is hopeful that they will be able to surpass all challenges as long as they are together and receive assistance from Pantawid Pamilya.

“Ito pong cash grant ay gagamitin ko pambili ng pagkain para sa mga anak ko. Para makakain naman sila ng masarap at masustansya. Pambili din ito ng ibang gamit na nasira dahil sa bagyo,” she said.

As a balut vendor, their income does not suffice the needs of her three children.

“Ang hirap-hirap po talaga ng buhay namin. Kaming mag-asawa maghapon kaming nagtitinda sa terminal. Minsan alas-otso na kami nakakauwi,” she said.

When asked what have been the changes in her since she became a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary, she said, “Malaking tulong kasi wala namang ganito noong bata pa ako. Mula pa maliit ako ganito na ang buhay ko, nagtitinda ng balut. Ayokong maranasan ng mga anak ko ang buhay namin ng asawa ko. Gusto ko makapagtapos sila ng pag-aaral.”

Her three kids are her source of inspiration. She is proud of them as they are all doing well in school. Her eldest daughter has been a consistent honor student since Grade 1, and her other kids want to follow suit.

“Simula Grade 1 hanggang Grade 6 nasa honor roll siya. Pati yung mga kapatid niya gusto siyang gayahin. Natutuwa kaming mag-asawa kasi masipag silang mag-aral,” she said.

They may not have all the riches in the world and their home may take a while to be fixed, but as long as their faith and love for each other are strong, Cristina knows that her family can face any Yolanda that may come their way. (Source: DSWD)

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