Rebecca Malasugui of Purok Kalyong, Barangay Landan in Polomolok, South Cotabato, graduated from the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) on November 25, 2021. Rebecca shared her story of hope brought about by 4Ps. 

Rebecca and husband Berting did not finish school due to poverty and they were realistic that sustaining the needs of seven children could not be easy. Farming is the family’s primary source of income. To send all their children to school, Berting engaged in buy and sell of breads in their purok for extra income. He also accepts extra labor by delivering coal to the market. On the other hand, Rebecca worked as a part-time agent dealer of Personal Collections. Despite the hardship and financial difficulties, the couple strove hard to provide for the family. 

In 2011, Rebecca was validated and registered with 4Ps under Set 5. “Dakung salamat naku kay isa ko sa napabilang sa program kung sa diin dakung tabang kanamu og sa akong mga anak sa ilang pag-eskwela.” Out of seven children, three were monitored by the program: Bernard, John Paul, and Robina. They all graduated from high school courtesy of educational grants derived from 4Ps. 

Alongside the grants, both Bernard and John Paul were Expanded Students’ Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation scholars, hence both received added educational assistance from the government to support their tertiary education. Under RA 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Act, poor students belonging to families listed in Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) 4Ps but are deserving, automatically qualify for the Tertiary Education Subsidy. Bernard graduated with a degree in Sociology at Mindanao State University – General Santos City.

He is now working as a company processor of MUTI General Santos Branch. Meanwhile, John Paul is a licensed professional teacher. He graduated with a degree in Mathematics from the same university as Bernard’s. He is currently serving as Teacher 1 at Kalyong Integrated School, Barangay Landan in Polomolok. Robina is still in college at Holy Trinity College in General Santos City. 

Meanwhile, Rose Ann graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and is also a licensed professional teacher. Although Rose Ann did not receive any educational grant from 4Ps, she still benefited from it. “Bisag wala man sya nasulod sa 4Ps pero dakung tabang sa iya allowance hangtod sa iyang paggraduate”, Rebecca stressed. Rose Ann is similarly working as Teacher 1 at Bukay-eel Elementary School in Barangay Landan, Polomolok.

The 4Ps was admittedly a huge help to the family and had given them hope that one day Rebecca’s dream for her family will come true. With perseverance and determination, those dreams are slowly becoming a reality fittingly ending the cycle of poverty.

Presently, three of their children are economically stable and have their own families while the other three are also stable and have regular jobs. With this, Rebecca is confident that they can sustain their family and are ready to face any challenge even without 4Ps.

They have also invested in a bongo truck to use for their farm business. In addition to the farm lot they own, the family has a mortgaged farm lot planted with corn and banana. 

Rebecca is genuinely grateful. From “kawayan nga balay” as Rebecca puts it, to a concrete and sturdy house, their family is now living in comfort. Not only did the cash grants help achieve their dreams but equally important, is her transformation as an individual through insights she learned from regular Family Development Sessions provided to grantees. Lastly, she has built strong relationships with other 4Ps beneficiaries who now form part of her community and support group. 

It is inspiring to hear success stories of individuals who maximize government assistance to improve their lives amid the accusations that 4Ps is a dole-out thereby making people lazy. Success stories manifest that life affords us countless opportunities and we can only grab and move forward with a purpose. Rebecca’s family is one of the numerous families that resonates with success. Indeed, “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.”