In times of difficulty, the true character of an individual becomes apparent. While the country is reeling with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, many families struggle to sustain their source of livelihood. Moreso for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries where majority of them are daily-wage earners, ambulant vendors, farmer-laborers and the like.

In Tuguegarao City, residents struggle with localized lockdowns as new covid infections are added to the alarming number of infected in the locality. This was further aggravated in November and December when a majority of the city was submerged in flood waters ruining crops, livestock, equipment and other livelihood establishments.


Big Brother with a heart

The Local Government Unit, headed by City Mayor Jefferson Soriano, aware of the challenges that these families are going through, have intensified the provision of assistance to the poor and vulnerable. Besides the financial assistance from the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), food and non-food items are delivered in 49 barangays to include 4Ps families.

During the City Inter-Agency Council (CIAC) Meeting for 4Ps, the City Action Team (CAT) of Tuguegarao City presented the updates on accomplishments as well as the status of well-being of families covered by the program where it was shown that the families continue to thrive despite the challenges.

Seeing this, the LGU resolved to provide additional financial assistance to 1,098 4Ps households in the city. Each family was given an additional one thousand pesos cash totalling 1.98 million pesos from January 25-28, 2021.

In one of his messages, the mayor said:The gains of the 4Ps in improving health and nutrition outcomes, and increasing educational opportunities for the youth in the City, continuously inspires the City Government of Tuguegarao to play its part in ensuring the success and improved performance in the program. The 4ps interventions have been continuing despite the disruptions brought about by the current pandemic.


Receiving with gratitude


Jesusa Taguinod from Libag Norte already knew what she would do to the assistance she received. At the start of the pandemic, she had been very frugal with the financial assistance she received. From the money she saved after basic necessities, she would purchase materials to make into washable face masks or reusable grocery bags.

However, selling her goods is not as profitable due to the various quarantine measures imposed in the city. With the money she received from the LGU and some of her savings, she used it as a capital to sell street snacks in her neighbourhood. According to her, the Family Development Sessions she attends monthly, especially the topic on Financial Management, has taught her how to be resourceful as a parent.

Antonia Cadatal of Linao East is another recipient of the assistance. She owns a small “talipapa” where she sells vegetables gathered from her own backyard or procured from other suppliers.

Besides vegetables, she sells other basic necessities such as cooking oil, vinegar, eggs, fish sauce, shrimp paste etc. that she buys from the grocery store. She used the money she received as additional capital for her store. For her, using the money to invest in her livelihood is the best decision.

“We should not depend on the government for everything we need,” she explains. “But when we do receive assistance, there is a correlative responsibility on our part to use it wisely in order to maximize the benefits.”


Giving back


4Ps beneficiaries have become quick to respond to activities in the community being cognizant of their correlative responsibility as members of the community and a way to give back to the government for the benefits they received.


On February 16, 2021, a Barangay Clean Up Day was initiated by the city government where more than 100 4Ps beneficiaries joined in the city-wide initiated activity in. Bringing their own cleaning materials, groups of 4Ps individuals toiled for the entire day to clean up roadsides, canals, parks, schools and other public places in the 49 barangays.

According to CAT Team Lead, Mylene Nevado, “During their FDS sessions, we encourage them to take part in community activities as responsible and active citizens. Each and every one play an important role in the improvement and development of their community. It’s high time that they recognize this and take ownership of it.”

###with report from CAT Tuguegarao, written by Jeanet Antolin-Lozano