Julian and Juliet Pajar both came from a poor family when they married 20 years ago in Roma Enrile, Cagayan. Between them are four children, 3 sons and 1 daughter, all living under their small house made of light material.
Julian worked as a farm tenant for a one-hectare rice land while Juliet remained in the home to care for the young children. His meager earnings from agriculture was not enough to support the family moreso when the children started school. As a young married couple, the two would usually get into quarrels over financial woes as Julian was prone to vices: cigarette-smoking and alcohol. Instead of nagging her husband, Juliet took to reverse psychology to remind her husband that their young children need him to remain healthy and strong for the family.
In 2012, the family became a part of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). For them, the program has given them much needed relief from their financial burden in sending the children to school. On the other hand, they did not rely on the program for everything that they needed. Julian knew that his labor alone could not support the family which is why he encouraged Juliet to engage in income-generating activities.
Juliet started selling vegetables and meat on foot. She would start peddling their goods door to door as soon as the children left for school. Busy as they were with their livelihood, they would never miss a Family Development Session. For Juliet, the sessions helped her to become more sensible when it came to managing the family’s finances. In fact, she had become so prudent that she was able to save up enough money to purchase a bicycle with a sidecar. This greatly helped her mobility as she could now travel to nearby communities.
On the other hand, Julian’s industry has become known to the community that landowners trusted his sense of judgment. Soon he was able to secure a 3-hectare farm lot for
which he entered into another tenancy agreement where he received 10 sacks of palay for every 100 sacks harvested or 10% share profit.
Later on, the couple was able to secure a motorized vehicle which they had customized into a rolling store. Juliet’s business became so successful that she decided to put up a bigger sari-sari store with a starting capital of fifteen thousand pesos with a refrigerator and cooler. Aside from that, the couple also began to put up improvements to their house. Harvest after harvest they started to concretize their house and even put up a water-sealed toilet. Along with the improvements, they were also able to purchase appliances like television and washing machine.
The couple’s goal is to ensure that their children finish their college education. Jericho, their eldest is taking up Marine Engineering at the University of Cagayan Valley. He is a university scholar of the Commission on Higher Education and receives a stipend of sixty thousand pesos per annum. Jonathan, on the other hand is a BS Criminology student of the same university.
To further augment the family income, Julian secured a tricycle for hire which he drives while waiting for the harvest season and also to transport some of the goods. Juliet now maintains her sari-sari store.
On August 19, 2020, the Pajar family signified their intention to waive out of the program despite still having eligible children under the program. The couple feels secure for their children’s future while they enjoy their independence from the program.
“I am proud to say that we can now graduate from the program,” Says Juliet. “We will cherish all the learnings we gained from the program.”
###Story by George Maguigad, Written by Jeanet Antolin-Lozano