Pantawid Pamilya Parent Leader Velma Paglinawan of Brgy. Panaglib, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur proudly showcases her newly-produced T-Shirts.

Kiblawan, Davao Del Sur  -One will often see her during Pantawid Pamilya activities in the town. She sometimes gets mistaken as a Municipal Link since she is always visible in all program undertakings.

She is an advocate, a leader, a follower, a counsellor, a friend, a mother and a wife rolled into one.  44-year old Velma Paglinawan of Barangay Panaglib, Kiblawan would have never thought she would be all these and more.

Velma and her husband Eldie, 43, are your typical rural folks. Both, however, have always been involved in community activities in their purok. Velma served as a Purok Leader for six years, while Eldie served in the same position for 11 years.

Eldie also volunteered as a Barangay Tanod since 2008, receiving a meager income of only 200 pesos a month. With such a small honorarium, Eldie had to work two jobs – a Skylab (motorcycle) driver and a farm labourer.

To help her husband, Velma peddles homemade pancakes and other native delicacies in their neighbourhood. “Nagahimo pud ko og bag, bayong, kurtina ug uban pa dayon ibaligya para sa pag-eskwela sa among mga anak (I also make bags, baskets, curtains and other household items and sell these for our children’s schooling).”

Lisod gyud kaayo sa una kay daghan kayo amoang huna-hunaon ug kinahanglan atimanon, gikan sa inadlaw nga pagkaon sa amoang panimalay hangtod sa baon ug galastuhon sa eskwelahan sa akoang mga anak. Sa una wala gyud intawn na nagatumar og vitamins akoang mga anak kay wala mi ikapalit (Our life before was really hard, there were a lot of things that we had to consider and to take care of -from our daily meal budget up to our children’s school allowances and school fees. Our children were not able to take vitamins before since we really did not have the budget for it),” Velma recounted.

The municipality of Kiblawan became a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program recipient in 2010. Though she heard a lot of negative opinions about the program, she always had high hopes on the services of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Daghan moingon nga 666 daw ni ug dautan daw ang programa apan akoang gi-esplikar sa akoang mga silingan nga tungod kay programa man ni sa gobyerno, maminaw lang ta ug dili magsige og pandaot. Mo-attend ta kung aduna silay ipatawag nga mga orientasyon aron makasabot ta (A lot of them said that the program is a 666 scheme, that it is evil. I explained to them that since this is a government program, we have to learn what it is all about first and not spread negative rumors. Let us attend their orientation to understand the program),” Velma shared.

Huwarang Pamilya

In 2012, the Paglinawan Family beat 48 families in the entire region and was named as the first-ever Huwarang Pamilyang Pilipino winner.

Wala gyud mi magdahom nga mapilian mi. Dili man mi makaingon nga perpekto gyud mi nga pamilya. Ginabuhat lang namo ang amoa tanan nga makaya aron makatabang sa amoang mga anak ug sa komunidad. (We really did not expect to win. We do not consider our family perfect. We only do our best to assist our children and help out in the community),” Velma grinned.

The Search for Huwarang Pamilyang Pilipino is open to all family beneficiaries who have religiously followed the co-responsibilities in the program, as well as, recognize families who embody and demonstrate strong family ties.

Aside from being a parent leader, Velma is the president of the Barangay Children Association to Protect Children Against Child Labor since 2004, mediator of the Barangay Justice Advocates since 2004, the appointed Provincial Vice President for KALIPI (Kalipunan ng mga Liping Pilipina), a PARB Multi-purpose Cooperative member, a Barangay Agrarian Reform Community member, Parents-Teacher Association President, a church lector, and a choir member.

Kusog ko mag-volunteer, kanang pagserbisyo nga uban sa paghigugma. Ang akong bana supportive pud kaayo (I always volunteer, the kind of service that is imparted with love. My husband is also very supportive),” Velma said.

Malipayon ko nga makapartisipar sa mga ingon niani nga kalihokan kay makita jud nako unsa ang mga kabag-uhan nga nahimo niini sa mga lumulupyo sa Kiblawan ug sa komunidad pud. Example ani kaning amoang project sa KALIPI diin gitagaan mi og Php 50,000 provincial fund para sa piglet dispersal nga giapod namo sa tibuok 2,128 disadvantaged women members sa KALIPI. Malipay ko nga magtan-aw nga ang mga babaye nga anaa lang sa balay sa una, karon makalihok na ug maka-income na og ginagmay para makatabang sa pamilya (I am pleased to be able to participate in these endeavours because I could witness first-hand the positive changes the different programs have brought to the residents of Kiblawan, as well as to the community. For instance, our piglet dispersal project in KALIPI wherein we were given Php 50,000 provincial fund. We  distributed the piglets to all 2,128 disadvantaged women-members of KALIPI. I am delighted to see these transformed women who before were just content in the four corners of their homes, but now have learned to earn to be able to help their family),” Velma joyfully exclaimed.

All of Velma and Eldie’s five schooling children excel in school. Their eldest, Rembrandt is a full scholar for Sagittarius Mines and is taking up Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP).

Second child Sheirne is in 3rd year college, also at USEP studying Education. She is an LGU scholar.

Younger children Ian Dave, 11; Gwen, 9; and Jay Paul, 6, are in the top five of performing students in their respective classes.  In 2012, Ian Dave was chosen as provincial representative for the Exemplary Child Search and participated in the National Children’s Congress in Metro Manila.

Amoang ginapaningkamutan nga mahatag ang mga panginahanglanon sa amoang mga anak. Grabe ang grasya nga gihatag sa Ginoo kay ang amoang mga anak pud kay disiplinado kaayo, pag panahon sa klase moeskwela gyud na sila. Wala mi TV sa balay busa inig human sa ilang guimbuhaton sa balay, mag-study dayon na sila (We do our best to provide for our children. God has blessed us so much for He gave us very responsible kids who are active in school. We don’t have a TV set, so when they are done with their household chores, my children immediately attend to school tasks),” Velma said with pride.

When asked what her eldest son Rembrandt’s dreams are for his family, he tearfully replied “Daghan ko’g pangandoy sa akoang pamilya. Gusto nako masuklian ang tanan sakripisyo sa akoang ginikanan. Ang gabii himuon na nilang buntag aron mahatag ang amoang mga panginahanglan. Dako akoang pasalamat sa Ginoo nga sila akoang ginikanan (I have a lots of dreams for my family. I want to repay all the sacrifices of my parents. They worked even during night time just to be able to provide for us. I am very grateful to God that they are my parents).”

Onward to progress

“The municipality of Kiblawan started off the Municipal Transition Planning (MTP) in 2013. I can firmly say that the projects and services that we prioritized and initiated were implemented. We, at Kiblawan, can confidently say that because of close coordination and good communication among stakeholders, we were able to smoothly implement our priority projects,” reported Ms. Alma Amido, Municipal Social Worker and Development Officer for Kiblawan.

Kiblawan aims to reduce poverty incidence by 50% in 2015.

To achieve this, the LGU employs stakeholder participatory approach, unity and convergence in targeted areas, capacity building, strengthening institutional mechanisms, unleashing entrepreneurship and increasing access to credit, and mobilizing the private sector support to scale up investments and provide social protection programs for the poor and vulnerable groups.

For fiscal year 2015, Kiblawan will prioritize potable water system, upland irrigation system, construction of multi-purpose drying pavement/solar drier, construction of health centers, riverbank rehabilitation, provision of medical equipment and supplies, organic fertilizer production facility, CSO capability building, sustainable livelihood programs for out-of-school youths, cacao seedlings production, vegetable production, organic tilapia production, and cattle restocking.

A total amount of P 19 M is earmarked for these prioritized projects and services.

Good intentions

As a parent leader, Velma sees to it that her members learn the value of cooperation, participation and sense of ownership. Velma and her 32 cluster members cultivate a community garden which is planted with vegetables.

Naka-harvest mi tong niagi og batong nga amoang gikonsumo ug ang uban amoang gibaligya. Ang halin amoang gibutang sa amoang savings account (Recently, we harvested string beans which we distributed to members. We also sold some of the produce. The money we earned was deposited in our savings account),” Velma narrated.

The group’s savings is now Php 50,000 with an interest of almost Php 4,000. The members can also access emergency loan from the savings.

On May 2014, Velma and 60 other program beneficiaries attended a seven-day training on basic sewing. DSWD through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) spearheaded the training and issued seven new sewing machines to the group to start up a small income-generating enterprise.

Today, Velma continuously pours her time and effort for her co-beneficiaries in Kiblawan.

Motabang gyud ko sa abot sa akoang makaya sa tanang kalihokan sa DSWD. Gusto nako ipaambit ang akoang mga nakat-onan aron kami tanan makakat-on. Para sa akoa, ang makita ang akoang mga kaubanan nga makahibalo na mo-istorya para sa programa ug molihok aron sa kalamboan sa ilang panimalay ug katilingban, dako na kaayo na nga kabag-ohan (I will help in any way I can in all DSWD undertakings. I want to share what I have learned so everyone will be capacitated. It is inspiring to watch my co-beneficiaries telling people about the program and striving for the improvement of their family and community).

Truly, Parent Leader Velma is learning much while serving more. (DSWD)