Tibungco, Davao City (DSWD XI) – “Achieving a well-fed and a food-secure household would mean improving what people eat, in terms of quality, quantity, and variety,” Pantawid Pamilya City Link of Barangay Tibungco Jackilyn A. Raz said.

This is easily attainable for the family of Baltazar and Marina Monton, which enjoys vegetable gardening as an income-generating hobby.

”Sa pirmiro namo nga pagtanom, nagsugod ko sa baynte ka semilya sa pechay. Nagakuha pud ko sa sementeryo og mga tetra pack aron matamnan (I started off with 20 seedlings of pechay. I also gather from the cemetery tetra packs which I recycle into pots),” Marina shared.

From 20 pechay seedlings, Marina now has over 200 seedlings along with other crops that she cultivates by their home lot sideline.

To make soil containers, Marina personally sews together the various tetra packs she fastidiously collects. She even builds makeshift racks to maximize the limited space by the fence, and make room for her growing vegetable pots.

Ang naka nindot sa amoang gulayan kay nag ka unite mi mga beneficiaries nga bisan og naa mi sa daplin sa dagat dili rason nga dili mi maka tanom og mga gulay (It is interesting to note that as beneficiaries we agreed that living near the seashore is not a hindrance in growing vegetables).”

The urban container gardening was established in 2013 with three Pantawid families in the seaside area of Tibungco. For them, it provided additional income and better nutritional values for the whole family.

Marina said her husband Baltazar repacks the seedlings they buy and sells it to fellow Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries at Tibungco Public Market. Their children also help and gardening has become a kind of family bonding especially on weekends.

Seven of their children are now married and living separately. Only the two younger ones are staying with them.

From their small garden, the family earns Php 1,500 every month. This is a lot of help since the couple also takes care of four grandchildren.

For their laudable efforts, the Monton family was recognized in 2017 during the District II Urban Container Gardening Contest initiated by DSWD Pantawid staffs in partnership with the local government of District II of Davao City.  The Montons won second place with a Php 2,000 cash prize.

Tungod sad aning gulayan nako nakapalit ko og sin sa among balay maong nakabutang nako og dghan pang tanom sa amoang atop (Through my vegetable garden, I was able to buy G.I. sheets for my roofing hence I can now place more pots on the roof which also serves as garden patch),” Marina beamed.

Their garden also supplies the family’s vegetable requirements. From their savings on vegetables, they are able to pay for other basic needs. Consequently, what they earn from selling their vegetable produce could definitely augment the family’s income.

Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program that invests in the health and education of poor families, primarily those with children aged 0-18. It provides cash grants to partner-beneficiaries who comply with the conditions of sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers, and attending the monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS).

FDS is conducted by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and partners from non-government organizations, private sector, and civil society organizations. FDS topics include effective parenting, husband and wife relationships, child development, laws affecting the Filipino family, gender and development, home management, active citizenship, electoral education, among others.

To date, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, implemented by DSWD, benefits 263,024 families in Davao Region. (DSWD)