4Ps #KAKAIBA-baihan Features | Known as “pambarangay na marites”, Marilyn Matusalem, a 50-year-old from Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, has proven that there is more to her than her moniker suggests. Raising her four (4) children alone, she has not only bravely provided for them but has also extended her love beyond her family as she serves as the Barangay Health Worker of their community. Recognizing that the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) supports their family’s well-being, Marilyn is driven by the same spirit to complement the support provided by the program through actively contributing to the welfare of the entire community.

Marilyn’s life is a tapestry woven with threads of hard work, faith, and volunteerism. Her role as a BHW sees her working alongside Barangay Officials, earning the trust and respect of her community. She is affectionately called “maaasahan” by her community because of her reliability.

Her involvement doesn’t stop at health services; Marilyn is the “pambarangay na marites,” a local term for someone who is a central figure in community activities. She ensures that everyone is informed and included in the programs and services offered by the Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) and the Local Government Unit (LGU). Furthermore, Marilyn’s leadership skills and proactive nature have not gone unnoticed. Her contributions to the BLGU’s programs have led to her participation in the BFP Olympics and various seminars and trainings. Her spirit of volunteerism is so strong that she aims to prove that she can be “THE MAN” for her family, challenging traditional gender roles.

An active church member, Marilyn draws strength from her faith, which has been her anchor through life’s highs and lows. Her children see her as a superhero as her resilience inspires respect and admiration. If there’s one thing that has fully shaped her character, it was through 4Ps.

As a beneficiary of the 4Ps, Marilyn values the Family Development Sessions (FDS), which have played a significant role in her personal growth. She credits the 4Ps for empowering her and other women grantees, helping them become stronger and more empowered individuals. Marilyn’s evolution is palpable; previously content with “okay” as a standard and obedience to the law as sufficient, her perspective shifted upon attending FDS sessions. She realized the depth of being a woman of substance, understanding the importance of active communication, participation, and unity within the community.

“Bilang isang solo parent, isang 4Ps member, isang Barangay Health Worker, isang labandera, at higit sa lahat bilang isang ina na nagpamulat sa mga anak na bawal sumuko, masasabi kong kaya namin. Lahat mararating namin basta kami ay may iisang puso at kami ay sama-sama.”

Marilyn’s journey as a 4Ps #KAKAIBA-baihan has already transformed her into the empowered woman she has become. Now, she looks forward to transforming her family’s well-being through the help of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program – a program that is more than just cash grants and the moniker of it being a “dole out” one.