Mr. Pedro T. Balingao resides in Barangay Ragan Norte, in the Municipality of Delfin Albano, Isabela. He grew up in a community where tenant farming is the way of life. The tradition of being a farm laborer is passed from one generation to another. He embraced the tradition and also became one. He now realizes that his seasonal income does not suffice the growing needs of his five children. His income amounting to P150.00 barely covers the basic need of his family. Fate even tested his resilience as his wife went abroad and hasn’t heard from her since. He even incurred debts just to send his wife abroad that in turn left him alone with the burden of paying all these said debts. For five years, he struggled financially and emotionally as a solo parent. Juggling both the role of bringing food on the table and providing maternal care.

When Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) was introduced in their community, he grabbed the opportunity and became a member of Aquarius SLP Association. Upon receiving the Seed Capital Fund (SCF) amounting to P10, 000.00, he invested it to start his own hollow block manufacturing business. It was his long-time dream to run his own enterprise for him to maximize his skill and earn more. He was able to purchase raw materials such as cement, gravel, sand and the like. He also acquired two units of hollow block moulder. He started producing an average of 400 pieces of hollow blocks per week. Through his perseverance, he effectively utilized his resources and to date doubled his production up to 1,000 pieces of hollow blocks per weekly cycle of production. During the start of his enterprise he earned an average gross income of P3,000.00 per week. Now, his project generates up to P10,000.00 gross income per week which draws an average net income of P5,000.00 per week. It translates to an additional average monthly income of P20,000.00. The enterprise also provided income for others as he hires delivery service earning P1.00 per one hollow block.

He now currently operates his own hollow block manufacturing shop. As proof of his hard labor, he was able to generate savings and used it to build a more comfortable house for his children. The steady income helped him send his five children to school and provide them with decent meal. The financial assurance that the project brings sheds hope for his children’s future. As he learned the value of savings in SLP, he now religiously sets aside a portion of his income for future diversification of his project. In his own little way, he gives back to the community by creating employment as he hires delivery service which in turn contributes to the local economic growth.

Despite life’s adversities, he remained optimistic and focused his energy on making the lives of his children better. His positivity radiates on his warm smile with no traces of resentment and regret.  “Hindi ako sinukuan ng DSWD at sinuportahan pa nila ang aking kabuhayan sa pamamagitan ng pagpapahiram ng puhunan mula sa SLP, upang sa ganon ay makasabay ako sa hamon ng buhay,” Mr. Balingao said. ### By: Melisen A. Taquiqui, SLP Social Marketing Officer