‘Pantawid’ moms embrace roles beyond the home

THEY are ordinary women who go through the daily routines of being a housewife and mother.

Given the opportunity however, Elma Alavaro and Jocelyn Almado of Panay, Capiz proved that they too, could find fulfillment in the roles they learned to embrace. That is, to serve others.

Her life once centered on being a housewife and a mother. When her four children were growing up, Elma Alavaro would also help her husband earn a living by working in the farm. All her efforts were focused on taking care of her children and providing their needs.

Parent Leader Elma Alavaro (right) of Barangay Bato, Panay, Capiz assists in the validation of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries during the over-the-counter payout.

 But in 2011, Elma’s family became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). With more than 2,000 beneficiaries in Panay, Capiz, parent leaders from among Program grantees were identified to assist DSWD-hired Municipal Links (ML) particularly on disseminating information about Pantawid Pamilya.

Nang Elma, as she is fondly called, was readily chosen by her fellow grantees to be one of the three Parent Leaders in their barangay, Bato.

“Sang umpisa, mabudlay kay may mga miyembro nga ulugtasan. Kung ginapatawag, gapa-awat-awat. Kung may mga meeting kami, ginakadtuan ko gid balay-balay para mapabalo (It was difficult at first because some members could be exasperating. They were tardy at times. If we have a meeting, I would go from one house to another to inform them),” the 45-year-old Elma explained.

Aside from relaying schedules of activities of Pantawid Pamilya to her 22 members, Elma also helps out fellow beneficiaries in filling up forms to update their record in the Program. Although some of her members can neither read nor write, and despite the fact that she has to explain the importance of the updating process again and again, Elma kept her patience and compassion. Her encouragement and dedication has bore fruit as she shared that her members could now do the task properly on their own.

“Kanami sang pamatyag nga makabulig ka sa iban nga tawo (It feels good to be able to help other people),” she said.

During activities in their community, Elma can be seen busily ensuring the attendance of her members, attending to their queries or facilitating their concerns.

As a Parent Leader, Elma has proven in herself that serving other people could be as gratifying a role as motherhood.

Like Nang Elma, Jocelyn Almado leads her pack in Pantawid Pamilya activities. During cash grant releases for instance, Jocelyn arrives at the venue very early in the morning and assists staff from the local government unit and MLs Liza Camacho, Zyanne Mae Souribio and Rosalie Santome validate fellow Program beneficiaries.

Pantawid Pamilya Parent Leader
Jocelyn Almado of Brgy. Lomboy, Panay, Capiz
Jocelyn, 44, of Brgy. Lomboy, Panay is also a Parent Leader with 32 members. As a leader, she sets a good example on time management - balancing her roles as wife, mother, Parent Leader, and businesswoman.

Jocelyn is into buy-and-sell of seafood. She would get fresh shrimps from fisherfolks and sell them to stall vendors at the town’s public market. Her day’s earning is P500.

“Kung may OTC (over-the-counter payouts), meetings ukon FDS, ginabuligan ako sang bana ko. Indi gani, sa hapon na lang kami gabaligya (During OTC, meetings or FDS, my husband helps me. Or we do the selling in the afternoon),” Jocelyn said.

FDS or Family Development Session is a monthly assembly of parent-beneficiaries where topics on effective parenting, home management, husband and wife relationship and child development among others are discussed.

“Kung sa hapon na lang kami magbaligya, syempre mas gamay ang kita. Pero okay lang. Katungdanan ko ang pag-attend sang mga aktibidad sang Pantawid. May responsibilidad ako sa akon mga miyembro (We have lesser sales if we vend in the afternoon. But it’s okay. It is my obligation to attend activities of Pantawid. I have a responsibility with my members),” Jocelyn said.

Performing her roles as a Parent Leader is her way of giving back to the Program that helped her family a lot, she said.

Two of her five children are covered by Pantawid Pamilya. As such, Jocelyn’s family receives P2,200 every two months from the Program as health and educational grants.

But more than the financial aid, Jocelyn is even more grateful to the opportunities given to her family as a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilya.

Jocelyn cited how ML Camacho facilitated that her son Chad, 19, avail of a skills training on housekeeping from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Upon completion of the training, Chad has since found work and is helping augment household expenses.

Another son, 16-year-old Mar has just finished high school and is currently applying as scholar under the Expanded Students Grant-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) of DSWD. The ESGP-PA gives Pantawid Pamilya children the opportunity to pursue a college degree.

Manami kung PL (Parent Leader) ka kay gadamo imo pangilala. Naging confident ako maghambal kag mag-atubang bisan sa mga dalagko nga mga tawo (It’s nice to be a PL because you get to know a lot of people. I became confident in talking and meeting bigwigs),” she said.

Bisan mabudlay kung kaisa mangin PL tungod sang kasakuon, masadya man panumdumon nga ginabuligan ka tungod kay gabulig ka man sa iban (Although at times its difficult to be a PL as it keeps me busy, I’m happy at the thought that help is given to those who also help others),” she added.

“Bisan high school lang ang natapos ko, kaya ko man gali balansehon ang pagiging nanay, asawa kag lider sang amon komunidad (Even though I only finished high school, I was able to prove that I can balance being a mother, a wife and a leader of our community),” Jocelyn remarked. (DSWD6/ Alma Jornadal-Estember)

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