MALABOG, Davao City (DSWD XI) – The Carlos family here is a dignified member of the Bagobo-Tagabawa Tribe hailing from the outlying Sitio Balugo, Barangay Malabog, Paquibato District.
The family was recently named 2019 Regional Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya. This search recognizes family beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program who maintain strong family ties, demonstrate positive Filipino values, and create a positive impact in the community where they reside.
The family will be recognized on September 2019 during the National Awarding of Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya in celebration of the National Family Week.
Reneboy and Regine were wed in 2010. They met in a religious community gathering. The family story didn’t start out easy. Reneboy only finished elementary school, while Regine graduated from a computer programming course. Regine was offered with several career opportunities but she chose to start a loving family with Reneboy.
“When my wife was pregnant of our first child, I swore to her and to myself that I will work twice as hard and do everything to give them a comfortable life –a life that is different from the one I have known and grew up in. I don’t want my children to experience the same struggles that I went through,”Reneboy recalled
Reneboy comes from a big family with seven children. He was was born in 1987 at the height of a war between conflicting forces in their sitio. This war went on for a long time, distressing the lives of innocent civilians in the community, including Reneboy and his family. At some point, his family had to live in months within the forests of Paquibato to steer clear of the armed rebels and their cruel war.
“All that we had for our meals was root crop. Most children would spend their days playing in the fields but I spent mine hiding in the woods. I remember my mother would cover my mouth whenever I cry so the rebels won’t be alerted,” Reneboy recollected that dark period in their lives.
Their struggles did not end there. When the war was over, Pangayaw happened in 1989. Pangayaw is a cultural practice or self-governance of the tribes to extract justice or vendetta for killings committed in the community. After years of conflict, their livelihood had been greatly affected. His family had to till lands that belong to others, depriving them a fair share of profit from the harvest.
“I also knew I had to help my father in the farm. I was only 13, skinny and malnourished, and I remember walking seven kilometers to Malabog proper while carrying 30 kilograms of corn that we needed to sell just to have food on our table. That was also the reason that I decided not to pursue higher education after finishing elementary school,” Reneboy recounted.
The couple are blessed with two beautiful daughters. Regine had to become a housewife to care for their children. Reneboy’s opportunities were limited due to his educational attainment, thus he committed himself to find different means to sustain his growing family.
Reneboy engaged in multi-crop farming, driving motorcycle to several routes and even offered pakyawan transport services to teachers and other government employees assigned within the area.
Lessons and gains
When the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Indigenous Peoples (MCCT-IP) was introduced in 2014, their family was included as one of the eligible beneficiaries. This brought a great positive change to their lives, not only providing them with financial aid but countless opportunities as well.
Reneboy was elected as Pantawid Parent Leader in the Balugo Chapter. With this new task, he was able to develop his leadership skills and self-esteem. Regine also serve as secretary of the Women’s Organization and Rural Improvement Club in their area.
“It is very humbling and at the same time uplifting that people believe in my capacity to lead and serve them despite my low educational attainment. DSWD provided us opportunities like attending a number of trainings, seminars and other capacity enhancement activities,”Reneboy shared.
The Carlos family is also known for its generosity and willingness to help those in need. Reneboy and Regine have been offering free assistance and free transportation services to expectant mothers within the community who are in labor and even accompany them to the nearest birthing facility. A great number of people in their area have also received help from the pair. The two is open to serve their fellowmen as long and as much as they can without expecting anything in return.
With the tested competence and honest work, the family gained respect from many groups in the community and established a good reputation. The principal of Balugo Elementary School has come to know Reneboy and his great contribution to the community. He offered him a stable job as school watchman.
“It was such a great blessing because I haven’t had a stable job since 2017. This new opportunity didn’t stop me from serving the community. For a couple of years, I served as Vice President of Parent-Teachers Association of Balugo Integrated School. I was also involved with many groups, including becoming chair of the Malamboon Agriculture Association and being President of the Balugo Solar Association,”Reneboy proudly shared.
Reneboy and his wife are filled with pride knowing that their eldest child is thriving well in school and is a consistent honor student. The family was able to send their two daughters to school with the help of the financial aid from MCCT-IP.
“I am currently enrolled in the Alternative Learning System (ALS) that was offered in our area, I took it without any second thoughts. My daughter inspired me to continue my education. This is something I have dreamt of all these years but never had the chance to really enroll,” Reneboy said.
To date, Reneboy is still working as watchman in Balugo Integrated School and serves as a Parent Leader of the MCCT-IP program. He performs all of these noble roles diligently while pursuing his studies at the same time. Most importantly, Reneboy never fails in his duty as a loving father and husband. Regine also continues her work in safeguarding the rights and needs of the women in their community through their Women’s Organization. She also participates in seeking ways to promote rural development in their community.
“We are striving for the family, for the people who believe in me, and I am also doing this for myself because God knows that for the longest time, it is only now that I have realized my worth and I have also come to know how much I can gain and I can give,” Reneboy said.
The life story of the Carlos family is a proof that it is not the past that will define one’s future. The family used its trials as ladders to greater heights. Reneboy has made his struggles an inspiration to work harder and Regine chose a difficult yet the most noble career of motherhood to provide adequate love and care for her family.
“We thank God mostly for casting us all those hard times that molded our souls into strong ones and in teaching us generosity and compassion,” Regine said.
The Carlos family is one of the 254,843 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in Davao Region. (DSWD)