Marebeth, daughter Jim Marey and Gimmy in front of their booming store.
Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental -“Our family is a circle of strength, founded on faith, joined by love and kept by God. Sa tanan nga amoang kalisdanan, kahuyangan, kalipay ug sa tanan nga grasya nga amoang nadawat, gina-hangad namo tanan sa Ginoo (All our hardships, weaknesses, happiness and for all the blessings that we have received, we offer everything to God),” shared 35-year old Marebeth Basa of Barangay Linadasan here.
The Basas live in a humble oceanfront home.
Marebeth’s husband –Gimmy, 42, is a fisherman. To augment the income they earn from fishing, they opened up a small sari-sari store.
“Ginabinuangan gani ko sa akoang mga silingan nga lugi daw kaayo ko sa akoang sari-sari store kay P 600+ lang ang akoang gina-kompra gikan Malita kada bula, unya ang pamasahe padulong ug pauli kay P 500 (My neighbors oftentimes tease me that my sari-sari store is losing and unprofitable since I only purchase around P 600-worth of goods per month. The round trip van fare to Malita [neighboring municipality where I get the goods] is P 500),” recalled Marebeth.
Despite their meager income, Marebeth and Gimmy strived to send their children to school – Sylka Mae, now 14; Brian James, now 9; and Jim Marey, now 5 years old.
The Basa Family became beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in 2009.
“Dako kaayo nga tabang ang programa ilabi na sa pag-eskwela sa amoang mga anak. Mas na-engganyo sila mo eskwela tungod sa programa (The program has been a huge help especially in my children’s studies. They are more inspired to attend school because of the program),” Gimmy shared.
Another unexpected blessing came to the family when they became recipients of the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) in 2012.
Marebeth and Gimmy being accustomed to simple, frugal way of living, promised to smartly invest the capital assistance provided through SLP.
“Aron makatipid sa pamasahe nga P 500 gikan Malita, naga-hitch lang ko sa mga molabay nga truck padulong Don Marcelino. Bahala’g galisod ko sa mga bitbit nga pinalit, basta maka-save ko sa pamasahe kay saying ang kwarta (To save on the P 500 fare from Malita, I hitch a ride with private trucks going home to Don Marcelino. No matter the heavy load of groceries I carry, as long I can save as money is valuable)” admitted Marebeth.
In two years’ time, Marebeth and Gimmy were able to multiply their capital ten folds. From a small sari-sari store, they opened a new, bigger store just beside their house.
Marebeth and Gimmy never fail to inculcate positive values to their three children. It is evident in their children’s performance at school.
To share the blessings they received and pay it forward, the Basas sends 10 IP students to school. They also sponsor students to Girl Scout campings annually.
“Buot namo nga ipa-ambit pud ang among grasya nga nadawat gikan sa Ginoo ug sa DSWD. Tungod niini nga programa, sigurado mi nga makaya namong magtiayon ug makaya usab sa akoang mga anak ang molampos (We want to share all the blessings we received from God and from DSWD. Because of this program, my husband and I and my children are certain that we will succeed),” stressed Marebeth.
The Basa family is just one of the 229,871 families in the entire Davao Region that has benefited from Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
Pantawid Pamilya is a poverty-reduction program implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The program provides conditional cash grants to Listahanan-identified poor families having 0-18 year-old children. (DSWD)