Amelia showing off her ‘Kasabotan’ document as MCCT beneficiary.

“Choose not to place ‘dis’ in your ‘ability’,” said disability activist, American poet & two times World Record holder, Robert M. Hensel. Some differently-abled people may opt to just stop living because of their disability, some may feel pity on themselves and dwell on the burdens of their present condition, but there are some that choose to take on the challenge and rise from the situation.

Forty-six year old Amelita Vidal opted for the latter. Amelita was born with polio. She has never been to school. Amelita only learned how to write her name and signature because her husband, Victor, 52, taught her. Victor only finished Grade 4.

In 2005, Victor suffered from a stroke that left him paralyzed. Since then, Amelita had to strive hard to feed her family. Amelita and Victor have three kids: Mary Ann, 20 years old; Rosebellyn, 15 years old; and Cherry Mae, 11 years old.

Amelita and her family lives in Pogi Lawis, Barangay Daliao, Toril, Davao City. In the morning, she and her eldest daughter roam around Toril to buy recyclable plastics and iron. They sell it in the nearby junk shop and earn at most P 250/day. After lunch, Amelita sells cigarettes and candies along the sidewalk.

Amelita found a renewed sense of hope when she learned that her family was one of the few who were chosen as beneficiary for the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT).

“In 2012, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) introduced the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Families in Need of Special Protection (MCCT-FNSP). The target beneficiaries for MCCT-FNSP are families who have children with disabilities; families of child laborers; street/homeless families; IP migrant families; displaced families due to manmade and natural disasters and other environmental factors; and other families in need of special protection. Thus, it caters to families that were not catered by the regular Conditional Cash Transfer or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program,” said DSWD XI OIC Regional Director Priscilla N. Razon.

“The MCCT-FNSP strengthens and provides safety, protection and development of children in difficult situations and helps families overcome their present difficult situation. MCCT-FNSP hopes to mainstream these families in the regular CCT,” she added.

Eligible beneficiaries for MCCT-FNSP are families with children age 0 to 14 years old. Family beneficiaries must comply with the sets of conditions on attendance to Family Development Sessions (FDS), education and health to receive the cash grants.

Dako kaayo ang akong pasalamat kay dako kaayo ang matabang sa MCCT sa amoang pamilya! Kini pa gyud ang unang higayon nga nahiapil mi og programa gikan sa gobyerno (MCCT is a huge help to our family! This is the first time that I became a beneficiary of a government program),” shared Amelita.

MCCT started in Davao Region on September 2012. At present, MCCT has 3,334 total number of family beneficiaries with 6,082 total number of children assisted.

There may still be many other Amelitas that are yet to be helped. However, through MCCT and the differently-abled person’s positive outlook in life, change and success are just a stone’s throw away. DSWD