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Lilok

Pieces of wood, chisel, hammer and other carving tools, these are Tatay Mario’s constant companion to get by. His hands show the scars as badges from his years of carving. He patiently uses pieces of wood as his canvass and meticulously carves every single detail of his masterpieces. Mario G. Namaggo, an emigrant from Ifugao Province, resides in the coastal town of Sta. Ana, Cagayan.  His childhood memories would always remind him of a life of poverty, albeit one that he actively fights to be liberated from.

The Municipality of Sta. Ana is situated in the north easternmost point of Luzon. The community prides in their pristine beaches, lush slopes and abundant marine resources. It is even tagged as the Boracay of the north for its world class shorelines. The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) is also situated in this locality where most of its commercial and industrial activities take place. The livelihood opportunities are a mixture of agricultural and commercial. Its main produce are seafood, lumber, rice and corn. Majority of the locals are fisher folks who rely on what the sea can offer.

Tatay Mario married Nanay Maribel in 1995 and proceeded to build a family. The couple was blessed with six children. Soon enough the couple felt the struggle to provide for the needs of their growing family. During that time, Tatay Mario worked as a wood carver under a private employer. He only earned on a percentage basis depending on his contract with the employer. Their fate was even tested when the business of his employer went bankrupt and left Tatay Mario unemployed. To meet ends, Nanay Maribel was forced to peddle vegetables, fish and snacks in their neighborhood. To be of help, Tatay Mario collected drift wood, transformed it into souvenir items and sold it. Day and night he relentlessly worked for his family without minding his physical agony of being differently abled. To make the most out of the skill of Tatay Mario, the family decided to accept orders and venture in furniture making and wood carving. Since 2013, they continued with the said venture despite meager revolving fund and minimal tools to work with.

In 2017, the Sustainable Livelihood Program opened an opportunity for the couple to further expand their venture. Nanay Maribel underwent Basic Livelihood Training (BLT) and received Seed Capital Fund amounting to P10, 000.00. The couple used the fund to purchase raw materials and additional carving tools. They started making personalized wooden crafts, souvenir items, pieces of furniture and home decors. Aside from that, they now provide lumber/timber cutting and shaping services.  They cater clients within barangay Marede, nearby barangays such Dungeg, San Vicente and Centro. As part of their good management style they uphold quality service and workmanship. With that, they were able to gain big clients such as resorts and hotels in Sta. Ana and nearby municipalities of Gonzaga and Sta. Teresita. The Local Government Unit (LGU) of Sta. Ana also showed support as they serve as a regular client. For custom pieces,

the couple earns an average of P5, 000.00-P6, 000.00 per contract. On labor alone, the couple earns an average of P3, 200- P6, 000.00 per contract. The steady income supports their children which they struggled to provide before. Apart from that, their learning on BLT enhanced their know how on managing their business.

The couple has now been able to expand their furniture shop and has acquired additional assets such as a wood cutting machine and a curving machine. They also purchased a kolong-kolong (transport service) to reach a larger market and cater to the demands of their clients outside the municipality. More than the expansion of their business, the couple takes pride on being able to send their eldest child to college, something they consider their greatest achievement yet. Now, they have the very first degree holder in the family, a licensed teacher that fulfilled Tatay Mario and Nanay Maribel’s dream. Their daughter is currently teaching in San Vicente Elementary School. She is now helping the family especially in the school needs of his five siblings as a way of giving back for the sacrifices of her parents.

“Binigyan ako ng Diyos ng mga kamay na kayang lumilok ng obra, kaya naman itong mga kamay na to ang lililok sa kinabukasan ng aking mga anak. Nagpapasalamat ako sa SLP, malaking tulong samin ito upang mapalawak ang aming nasimulang negosyo”, Tatay Mario said. ### By: Melisen A. Taquiqui, Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) Social Marketing Officer

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Courage in the Face of Challenges

Natural and man-made calamities are chilling. When nature strikes, we are at the mercy of the catastrophe that it dishes. Calamities are but normal but without vigilance, properties, sources of living and even life can be taken away. Our best preparations can go a long way towards helping us overcome tragedies.

Challenges are but a part of living and problems mold us into becoming stronger and more determined. We surely develop more hope through trials and struggles. While living through these, there are people and organizations always able and willing to help. These are the moments that enable us to continue moving forward again.

Lilibeth Capa, a resident of Aridawen, Sta. Teresita, Cagayan and a member of the Agta group, is one of the beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) for Typhoon Ompong. Her family was heavily affected and never knew how they will get to stand again after the devastation caused by Ompong. Their shelter made of light materials were all but ruined and many of their things were damaged. Their shelter, which was slowly built through years of hard work, was heavily damaged after just a night of battering from the typhoon. Even their livelihood, selling rattans, was affected from the effects of the storm.

Idi ipigsa na iti angin nan, imyan kamin dyay evacuation center, idyay iskwelaan nga asideg kanyami. Intugot mi dyay dadduma a gamit mi, ken dagidyay nabati ket inabbungan mi lattan iti tulda. Duwa rabii kami nga nagyan dyay evacuation center, idi agsubli kamin dyay balay awanen ti naabutan mi. Naperdi tay balay mi ket haanen mabalin a pagyanan, (When the winds blew stronger and stronger, we decided to move into the evacuation center, in a school near our house. We brought some of our things while we left most covered by a tolda (flat tent). We stayed in the evacuation center for two nights, when we came back, everything we left was damaged. Our house was destroyed, and we could not stay there anymore)” Lilibeth said.

Edwin Capa, her husband, had at times found it hard to climb steeps after the typhoon to get rattan, their primary source of income, but he continues to push through given that the endeavor is their biggest source of income. Together they have six children, but poverty caused only one of them to reach secondary level and the rest didn’t finish their elementary education. Two of their children are already married.

Idi malpas ti bagyo, haan mi ammo nu kasano kami pay makarugi ulit, pati kar-ruba mi naperdyan met laeng, awan pagalan kanen mi ken awan ti naumno a pagturugan. Tatta nga nakaawat kamin ti tulong ti gobyerno, isu ti usaren mi a pangpaurnos ti balay, (After the typhoon, we had no idea how we could start again. Our neighbors suffered the same faith as many of their properties were ruined also. It was so hard to get food and we didn’t have a proper place to sleep. Now that we have received an assistance from the government, we now have the means to be able to repair our house)” Lilibeth added.

The family of Lilibeth Capa is one of the beneficiaries of the ESA who was given assistance for the repair of their house. The family received their assistance last March 14, 2019 at the field office’s multi-purpose building. The program assists in the shelter repair of typhoon beneficiaries wherein P30,000 cash is given to typhoon victims with totally damaged houses and P10,000 for the families with partially-damaged houses.

Dakkel a katulungan kanyami dyay kwarta ta isu ti pagpaurnos mi ti balay mi, sukatan min ti semento dyay plywood tapnu haantun nalaka a maperdi nu adda man umay a bagyo, (The cash that was given to our family is a big help as we will use it to rebuild our house. We will use cement rather than plywood so when the typhoon comes, it will not be easily damaged)” Lilibeth said.

Lilibeth knows that the amount given will not be enough to fully repair and restructure their house, but she knows that the assistance given is the first step towards realizing a house that is structurally sound and able to withstand typhoons. She also knows that her family can sleep more comfortably now that the assistance is ready for them to use for repairs.

Lilibeth says that having the assistance to start doing repairs have emboldened her family to start striving not just to rebuild their home but to also rebuild their life to provide a better future to the kids that are still under her care.

Trials of every kind are difficult but with the assistance given by the agency coupled with determination, a heart willing to move forward and courage to face any challenges that come, no problem is ever insurmountable indeed. ### Written by: Queenie Mae D. Cortez and Ronie B. Lapada, Cagayan State University (CSU) Carig Campus Interns, with a report from: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad

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Women’s Voices Call for Continued Empowerment

Every March, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2) joins the nation in celebrating Women’s Month as part of Proclamation No. 227 s. 1988, providing for the observance of the month of March as Women’s Role in History Month.

The theme “We Make Change Work for Women” was used in 2017 and 2018 and shall also be used this year until 2022. The theme aims to highlight the empowerment of women as active contributors to development.

As part of this year’s activities, women from the field office were asked about their take on women empowerment and what they think are the gains that were already achieved and the development that they hope to see in the future.

Protection through Laws

Janet M. Tuppil, 23, an Administrative Assistant working for the Protective Services Division of the field office, says that she is confident that she can exercise her rights as a woman through laws such as RA 9262, also known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act (VAWC) of 2004, while also hoping for more education towards men in the grassroots to be more aware of these laws. Like other women, she says that she already experienced being cat-called which she says was unpleasant and downright terrifying.

“Masaya ako dahil sa mga opportunity na ibinibigay sa amin at dahil na rin sa mga batas na meron para sa proteksyon ng mga babae. Sana magkaroon pa ng maraming orientation lalo na sa mga kalalakihan para malaman ang mga batas na ito kasi ako, nasubukan ko na ring ma cat-call at hindi maganda sa pakiramdam,” Janet said.

Unbridled Confidence

Nancy V. Mateo, 42, single and working as a staff for the field office’s Accounting Section, says that her confidence to build herself up does not depend on anyone and she says that she continues to pursue personal and professional growth despite being single for the bulk of her life.

“Ako ay halimbawa na posibleng maging independent at makamit ang mga pangarap kahit na mag-isa. Hindi palaging kailangang may kasama o katulong para maging successful,” she says.

Jonavie N. Canlas, 40, working for the Records Section of the office, says that she has grown accustomed to supporting her two kids for the past six years.

She says that  her experiences for the last 6 years galvanized her into becoming an independent woman.

Finding Her Voice

Joylalyn T. Leones, 30, an Administrative Officer at the Financial Management Division of the field office, says that she appreciates the fact that she has a say in the decisions made for her family and that she and her husband take shared responsibilities in everything they do. She credits these through a society that is now more aware of the rights that should be bestowed to women.

“Sa mga desisyon, masaya ako na binibigyan ako ng tsansa ng asawa kong magsabi ng aking saloobin, lahat ng mga desisyon sa pamilya ay dumadaan sa akin. Ganoon din sa trabaho, nakikita ko ang pantay na pagtrato sa mga lalaki at babae,” Joylalyn said.

Toughening Up for the Dirty Jobs

For some, pushing for equal rights also mean learning how to do the jobs that most people think should only be done by men.

Kathleen G. Manuel-Semania, 29, an Accounting staff of the field office, said that she had to learn how to drive and even change tires to help her husband in the day-to-day responsibilities in their house.

“May mga strengths and weaknesses ang mga lalaki at babae pero hindi ibig sabihin ay hindi kayang matutunan yung mga ginagawa ng mga lalaki. Natuto akong mag-drive para kapag hindi magawa ng asawa ko ay ako nalang. Pati pagpapalit ng gulong alam ko na rin,” Kathleen mentions.

Breaking Stereotypes

When Mischelle A. De Yro started working and had to be assigned to a job mostly reserved for men, she heard chatters from other people questioning her ability to handle the job. She heard how people sometimes associate women with stereotypes like tending to children and staying at home to do household chores.

“Kapag may mga activity sa ibang lugar dati, may mga nagtatanong at nagugulat kung bakit ako nandoon kasi nga panglalaki yung trabaho ko. Pero pinakita ko sa lahat na kaya ko rin lahat ng kaya ng mga lalaki,” she said.

Mischelle, now 30, considers the development of women’s rights through laws and other endeavors as a necessity to further push for equality between men and women. She also says that she sees equal rights now that she’s working for the field office.

Shattering Discrimination

Ms. Sheril S. Ubarre, 36, an Administrative Assistant working for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program here in the field office said that while she is fortunate enough to land a job in the field office, she laments about the lack of job opportunities given to her fellow solo parents due to what she thinks is unfair discrimination from hiring companies.

“May mga kagaya ko (solo parent) na nag-a-apply sa mga kompanya na hindi tinatanggap kasi ang tingin sa amin ay palaging nag-a-absent kasi nga mag-isa sa pag-aalaga sa anak,” Sheril laments.

Sheryl, whose husband passed away when their child was only 8 months old recalls the challenges that being a solo parent presents while hoping for greater opportunities for those like her.

“Kami, kaya namin ang mas malaking responsibilidad sa trabaho, kailangan lang ng opportunidad. Sana rin mas lalong mapalakas ang asosasyon ng mga solo parents para mas lalong marinig ang aming mga hinaing,” Ms. Sheril added. ###

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Appreciation Day for Partners Conducted by DSWD FO2, Aims to Strengthen Partnership with Stakeholders

Tuguegarao City – With the aim of recognizing the contributions of partners in the implementation of the agency’s programs and services, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2) conducted the Appreciation Day for Partners at Maynard’s Resort in this city last February 20, 2019.

Various National Government Agencies (NGAs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Local Government Units (LGUs), academes, uniformed personnel and private individuals were vested with certificates of appreciation and tokens for their work toward helping the field office in the conduct of its endeavors across multiple programs.

The program is part of the regional celebration of the field office of the agency’s 68th anniversary that is scheduled from February 19 to 22, 2019.

Part of the new set of priorities of the field office for this year is to fortify its collaboration with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), one of the awardees during the appreciation program, with the end goal of partnering with the latter in the delivery of services during calamities such as typhoons through the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The field office envisions a strengthened partnership where it can use the warehouses of armies stationed throughout the region for the storage of family food packs ready for distribution during disaster response situations.

The new endeavor also wants to use the AFP’s workforce so they can be mobilized to help field office staff during response situations in the field.

To this end, the field office hopes for a more efficient delivery of its services in the future.

The anniversary celebration concludes with the 4th Pammigbig Ken Pammadayaw Celebration on February 22, 2019 to recognize the outstanding contributions and achievements of field office staff for 2018. ###

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DSWD FO2 Spreads Unconditional Love Through the Promotion of Legal Adoption

Tuguegarao City – The Adoption Resource and Referral Section (ARRS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2) recently conducted a series of activities in line with the celebration of Adoption Consciousness this February.

The celebration, which was conducted from February 9 to 17 this year, aims to spread understanding of legal adoption for people to fully accept the process and to eliminate cases of simulated birth, illegal adoption, and the like.

With this year’s theme “Pagmamahal Palaganapin, Legal na Pag-aampon Ating Gawin” (Spread Unconditional Love through Legal Adoption), daily quote cards were shared by the field office through social media on the success stories of individuals/parents who went through legal adoption to drumbeat this year’s theme from February 8 to 17, 2019.

The field office is also currently airing its radio plug on legal adoption on one radio station per province of Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino that will last throughout the month of February.

Radio guesting were also done by ARRS staff in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Cagayan to spread awareness on legal adoption on top of help desks that were set-up last February 16-17, 2019 at the SM Center Tuguegarao Downtown to share information on legal adoption to prospective adoptive parents and individuals. The same help desk was also set-up in SM City Cauayan in Isabela province.

As a culmination to this year’s round of activities, Ms. Lucia Alan, DSWD FO2’s Assistant Regional Director for Operation (ARDO), Mr. Marciano Dameg of the Protective Services Division (PSD), Ms. Rosario Corpuz of ARRS and members of the Child Welfare Specialist Group (CWSG) appeared on Tipon-Tipan sa PIA on February 19, 2019 to answer questions from the media on legal adoption and foster care.

During their appearance, the team also commended the efforts of Dr. Enrico Babaran, DSWD FO2’s retainer doctor, for his efforts on regularly giving free medicines to center residents to ensure their health and wellness. ###

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St. Paul University of the Philippines (SPUP) Community Development Center Foundation, Inc. Bags Award from DSWD

February 15, 2019 – The Pagkilala sa Natatanging Kontribusyon sa Bayan (Panata Ko sa Bayan) Awards of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), awarded the Best Non-Government Organization (NGO) representing Luzon to the SPUP Community Development Center Foundation, Inc. today at the Landbank of the Philippines Auditorium in Malate, Manila.

The Panata Ko sa Bayan Award aims to acknowledge and recognize the invaluable support of individuals, groups, and organizations who have generously shared their time and resources, in helping the Department carry out its mandate of improving the lives, as well as provide a better opportunity for the poor, vulnerable, disadvantaged, and marginalized sectors.

The award was received by Ms. Noemi T. Cabaddu, Chairman of the Regional Area-Based Network (RAB) and Executive Director of the SPUP Community Development Center Foundation, Inc. and Sister Merceditas Ang, University President of the SPUP with assistance from DSWD Field Office 02 Regional Director, Leonardo C. Reynoso.

The NGO first received Level 1 accreditation from DSWD Field Office 02’s Standards Section in 2016, which is mandatory for licensed Social Welfare and Development Agencies (SWDAs) to ensure quality in the delivery of their programs and services targeting vulnerable sectors of their community.

The Level 1 accreditation is valid for three (3) years and failure to get accredited can be ground for the revocation of the license of SWDAs.

The SPUP Community Development Center Foundation, Inc. received their Level 2 accreditation last October 22, 2018, passing the mandatory requirements as set in level 1 along with more stringent requirements along the five (5) work areas of standards in the accreditation namely: Administration and Organization, Program Management, Case Management, Helping Strategies/Interventions and Physical Structures and Safety.

To date, the SPUP Community Development Center Foundation, Inc. is the only NGO in the region with a Level 2 accreditation from the Standards Section of the field office. ###

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Love Knows No Limits

* To maintain the privacy of the individuals mentioned in this article, their names were changed.

It is easy to love people when things are going well, and the outlook seems rosy all the time. When things and circumstances turn for the worse however, so is the attitude and the lack of love that is apparent. This makes Jhun and Marie’s story impressive.

The couple has been living for four years together but were not blessed with a child. Despite this, they made efforts to try to build their own house hoping that it will be ready in time for a child that could complete their lives. They purchased a land and though their house was eventually made with light materials, the couple aspired to one day build a house worthy of the family that they aspire to have.

But Christmas came early one day six years ago, when Jhun was given a newborn child from a mother who, fearing she wouldn’t be able to provide for the needs of her baby, decided to give the child to a couple that would be able to.

“Masaya ako nung una ko siyang makita. Naramdaman ko agad na siya na yung hinihintay namin para mabuo pamilya namin,” Marie recalled.

The child who became the embodiment of all the couple hopes and dreams for, eventually filled the gaps missing from the couple’s marriage. They became the child’s foster parent with the assistance of DSWD.

“Anak na ang turing ko sa kanya noong una ko pa lamang siyang makita. Minahal na namin siyang agad,” Jhun added.

But the positivity and the radiance that the child brought somehow turned to challenges later, however. The child experienced illnesses such as Acute Respiratory Infection at just 7 months old, Atopic Dermatitis at 3 years of age, Impetigo at 4 and again at age 6 and Pneumonia at 5 years in addition to all the normal sicknesses that a child experience. The couple nonetheless took these as opportunities to develop as parents and not a blockade in line with DSWD’s mission of protecting the vulnerable and the disadvantaged.

As if these experiences weren’t already enough, the child was diagnosed with Gross Developmental Delay at just 11 months. For ordinary individuals, the news would’ve been devastating specially in a culture that prefers perfection in almost everything, even the children that we care for. But not for Jhun and Marie. They considered the diagnosis as a temporary setback in their road to happiness and contentment.

The couple started bringing the child to twice a week physical therapy at the Cagayan Valley Medical Center (CVMC). Years of therapy bear fruit as the parent’s determination led to incremental development in the child’s motor function. At 16 months, the child could already hold her bottle with her hands unassisted. At 32 months, she developed even further by being able to raise her hands, achieve head control and sit with some support.

“Hindi natin mapipili ang mga nangyayari sa atin. Yung sitwasyon namin kay Angel, tinatanggap namin ng buo dahil ito ang binigay ng Diyos sa amin. Biyaya siya sa amin. Mamahalin namin siya at aalagaan sa abot ng aming makakaya,” Jhun said.

At 4 years of age, she was brought to a Stimulation and Therapeutic Activity Center (STAC) after referral by a social worker to continue her therapy. At five years of age, the child was able to minimize the use of her wheelchair and shifted to using a stationary chair instead. Now at six years old, the child still relies on her parents when being fed. She also still cannot indicate her bladder and bowel needs and still unable to dress and undress herself.

Despite all these challenges, the parents are hopeful because their love for their foster child is greater than the problems they face. They make sure to work together to give all the needs of their child. Making them stronger is the fact that the child can now utter words such as mama, papa and dede. She also shows cognitive development by being able to identify colors, shapes, numbers and animals by pointing.

They are also preparing for the future of the child as they started a small broiler buy-and-sell business in 2016. The couple jointly manages their business and hopes to one day expand their business to include home-for-rent opportunities.

“Gusto ko po na gamitin yung lupa na nabili namin para magpatayo ng bahay na pwede naming ipaupa sa iba. Sa ganoong paraan, mas makakaipon kami para sa kinabukasan ng aming anak,” Marie said.

The Road Ahead

With the help of the Adoption Resource and Referral Section (ARRS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2), the couple are now finalizing all the documentary requirements to process the legal adoption of the child. Ms. Rosario Corpuz, Social Welfare Officer II and Head of the ARRS, said that the diligence of the couple in meeting the requirements needed would lead to the swift processing of the adoption.

“Nakikita natin yung pagpupursige nila para maibigay ang mga kailangan para sa adoption. Kapag nakumpleto lahat ito, maaari na nating maipasa para maproseso na ang kanilang adoption,” Ms. Corpuz said.

Aside from the legal requirements for adoption, the couple capacitates themselves to improve their rearing skills, with Marie recently attending the National Training on Capability Building for Foster Parents in Davao City last July 24-27, 2018.

“Natutunan ko sa training kung papaano alagaan ang mga batang kagaya ni Angel. Mas naiintindihan ko na ngayon yung mga kailangan niya kaya ako ay masaya na napasali ako sa training. Magagamit ko ito para sa preparasyon ko para sa adoption kay Angel,” Marie said.

With the couples’ continued development as parents, their plans for adopting the child moves one step closer to becoming a reality as the days pass. Indeed, love knows no limits.

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Second Chances

People make mistakes. Failure of whatever kind is a basic reality of living. We do fail regardless of position or stature in life. But failure is an opportunity for improvement, of learning to get back up armed with the teachings brought about by failure to be able to finally reach a measure of finite success.

The Foundation

John (not his real name) started out just like every other kid, with playing and school the recipe of his daily living. Like most kids, he preferred playing instead of studying. He was wide-eyed and had grand plans for when he grows up.

John also had the support of his parents and relatives who believed that he can be successful in the future. Like a good soldier, he marched on through the challenges of life and school.

The Swerve

Unbeknownst to him or to his social circle, life’s challenges would veer for the worst. John’s friends whom he considered people he could trust started to introduce him to illicit things. Youthful indiscretion led John to think that doing so would be okay and that he would earn the favor of his friends by following suit, never knowing then the consequences of what he was getting himself into.

John got deep into criminal affairs and though he wanted to stop, the pull of the group and of the illegal drugs he was beginning to take on a regular basis was too much to pass up on. This went on for years and he thought nothing bad would really happen because he was just having the time of his life.

Reality-Check

As faith would have it, life had other plans for John. He got caught in 2012 and in doing so got charged with violating Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Being a minor at that time, he became a Child in Conflict with the Law (CICL) and was transferred to the Cagayan Valley Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (CV-RRCY).

“Hindi ko noon iniisip mga ginawa ko hanggang sa mahuli ako. Mas inuna ko ang barkada at masamang gawain ng hindi iniisip ang magiging dulot ng mga ginagawa ko. Bata kasi ako noon at hindi ko pa alam masyado ang tama sa mali,” John recalled.

The social workers assigned to John took the opportunity to teach him the right ways and correct his path. John initially resisted at the idea of being made to change in such a facility and wanted to get out as soon as possible but he eventually recognized his mistakes and put all his efforts into making his ways better.

“Yung bata, kahit alam mong nagkamali, alam mong kayang magbago kasi nagpursige siya noong nandito siya sa CV-RRCY. Binago niya ang kanyang ugali at pananaw sa buhay. Bata pa kasi siya noon at hindi pa niya alam ang maling ginawa niya,” said one social worker who attended to John when he was at the facility.

The process was long and arduous and there were times when John would resist correction. But as iron sharpens iron, his steely belief in sticking to his bad ways was met with a focused approach by center staff to make him change. Days and weeks went by and changes did happen to John’s ways and beliefs.

John finally straightened his ways after months of stay in the center and eventually got released from the CV-RRCY in 2013. He was then referred to a Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (TRC) in Manila for further rehabilitation. His case eventually got settled and after some time, John was able to finally be reunited with his family.

“Masaya ako noong nakalabas ako at kinuha ko yung pagkakataon para mabago buhay ko,” John said.

Looking back, John was happy that the experience helped him mature and realize what’s wrong from what is right. He said the experience taught him to value life and the changes that such a life-altering experience can give, a priceless opportunity he learned from the missteps of his younger self.

“Natutunan ko simula ng nandoon ako sa CV-RRCY na mahalin ang Panginoon, yung sarili ko at yung mga taong naniniwalang kaya ko pang magbago pati na yung mga pangaral na dapat may pangarap at hindi pa huli ang lahat, na dapat maniwala lang ako sa sarili ko na magbabago ako,” John said.

Looking Ahead

John, now 24, strives to one day protect and abide by the law that he once broke and serve as a policeman. He is now finishing up his degree in Criminology and is expected to graduate this year. His steely determination now shifts into bettering his career and refocusing a life that was once in so much negative pressure.

He now accepts responsibility into the wrongs of his past and aims to use his learnings to shine a light into other people that may be experiencing the same thing and to always hope and pray for the best.

“Natutunan kong dapat sa tamang mga tao sumama dahil kung sila ay mabuti, magandang mga bagay din ang maidudulot nila sayo,” he said.

John also now has his own family, tending to the needs of his 2-year-old toddler along with his wife, who currently works as a social worker. He understands the heightened responsibility being a parent gives and he realizes the need to protect the future of his family by working hard to better himself each day. He also wants to provide as much as he can to make sure his child reaches his potential and to never fall into the trap that once plagued him.

“Gusto kong maibigay lahat ng pangangailangan ng aking pamilya. Hindi na lamang yung para sa akin ang iniisip ko ngayon. Mayroon na akong pamilya at nais kong maibigay lahat ng kailangan nila. Masaya ako na baguhin ang aking sarili araw-araw at talaga ngang hindi pa huli sa taong marunong magsisi,” John concluded.

Indeed, second chance is sweet if there’s a heart willing to change.

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NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC

The public, whether an individual, group or organization is invited to submit to DSWD any derogatory report or information on the CSOs who are applying for accreditation to implement programs/projects using government public funds. Check the list of CSOs here...

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