Missing kin located after 16 years through Listahanan

Poverty and family misunderstanding prompted her to leave home. Sixteen years later, Jenaline Antipatia Burgos returned home with no memory of what happened years back.

Jenaline was 17 years old when she went to Manila to work as househelp for a family in Valenzuela City. After five years, she moved to Quezon province when she got pregnant with her boyfriend to start a family. Her relatives in Barangay Rizal, Oton, Iloilo never heard from her again.

 On December 22, 2013, still mourning the death of her youngest child, Jenaline came home. She has in tow her common-law husband and their four children.

“(I am happy because I am able to come home and see my family again,” the now 34 years old housewife said.

Jenaline does not remember everything that happened before she moved to Quezon province. When she returned here in Iloilo, her relatives have to introduce themselves to her and tell her stories to refresh her memory. Her kin believed this was the reason why she never get in touch with them.

Jenaline, her common law husband, and their children
during their vacation in her hometown in Oton, Iloilo.

 Listahanan database works
Nelma Antipatia, Jenaline’s aunt, who happens to work for DSWD Field Office VI as utility, said they have been trying to locate her niece. She said they have heard that she left her employer in Valenzuela but didn’t know where she transferred. There were allegations she went to Quezon province with her boyfriend but they do not know the exact address and could not confirm it.

By middle of 2013, Antipatia learned that Listahanan has a database of poor households in the entire country so she tried to seek help.

“(I tried my luck and asked assuming she is in the database,” said Antipatia, who approached Anilo Luis Barrion, Listahanan’s Regional Information Technology Officer.

Barrion then sought the help of his counterpart in Region IV-A Calabarzon (in which Quezon province belongs) to search the name of Jenaline in their database. The searching did not take long and they finally found her name there, her family’s address and the composition of her household.

Jenaline’s family happened to be a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, a child right’s based program being implemented by the DSWD that ensures children of poor families are healthy and are in school.

Finally coming home
After it was finally confirmed that she is indeed living in Quezon, Jenaline’s family in Barangay Rizal, Oton, Iloilo requested her cousin, Ramil Escudo, who lives in Manila and works for a delivery truck company to find her. Sometime in November 2013, Escudo finally found Jenaline in Barangay Banot, Sampaloc, Quezon. Her relatives then started communicating with her through cellular phone.

Jenaline’s family here then sent her money for their fare so she, her live-in partner and their children can come home in time for Christmas.

“When she arrived here, she could no longer recognize us. She could slightly remember when we tell he),” Antipatia said. Jenaline is also inconsistent in her answers if one asks her questions. Antipatia said they believe she is suffering from amnesia and they are hoping they could bring her to a medical professional.
Jenaline’s live-in partner, Francisco Ocfemia, however believes she is perfectly well although he admitted she never talks about her family or her past. He said she might not want to keep bad memories.

Jenaline shows off the bag that she made out of
buri leaves while her aunt, NelmaAntipatia,
 who was instrumental in
finding her through Listahanan, looks on
Life as Pantawid beneficiary
Jenaline and Francisco have five children. But on November 22, 2013, their youngest child, Janzen, one year old, died of unknown illness. Due to lack of money, they were not able to bring him to the hospital.
Francisco, 33, who was working as a security guard in Valenzuela City when he met Jenaline, tends a small coconut farm in his home province to support his family. Jenaline works as full time housewife but is also now honing her skills in weaving bags.

Their eldest child, Princess Burgos, 11, is now in Grade V; Jennifer Ocfemia, 10, is in Grade IV; John Francis Ocfemia, 8, is in Grade II and Jencil Joy Ocfemia, 2, who is not yet in school. They are all covered by Pantawid Pamilya.  Jenaline said they are receiving a grant of P2,800 every two months from the DSWD. They belong under Set 5 beneficiaries of the program.

“Pantawid has helped my family a lot because my husband is just making copra. Our income is sometimes augmented by my making and selling of bags,” Jenaline said.

She learned how to weave bags by just observing other women in their community. She proudly shared that if there are orders, she can make as many as three bags a day. “I did not train. I just observed others who are making bags until I learned.”

Jenaline said she considers settling here but she is concerned about the schooling of her children. She is also trying to convince Francisco to agree to her plan.

“I want to live here because my relatives are here. I also want to continue making and selling bags here,” she added with a sparkle of hope in her eyes. (By Wenna Berondo-Bendol)

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