JAGNA, Bohol – The family of Vicente and Marissa Garay from the coastal Barangay of Can-upao, Jagna, Bohol won this year’s Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya NationalSearch vesting over 16 regional entries nationwide.
The National Search for Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya was launched in 2012. The search was launched to highlight the role of the Filipino family as the core in support to building stronger foundation of our nation. This also aims to document the impact of the Family Development Sessions (FDS), as one of the unique program conditionalities.
The Garays received a total of P30,000 cash prize for the national search on top of the P25,000 cash prize and transportation assistance they got from the DSWD-7 during the regional awarding.
They received the national award last October 1, 2016 at the Commission on Audit Sports and Cultural Center in Quezon City.
DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo personally attended the event and handed the plaque and cheque to the winners.
“We acknowledge the contribution of our families in development, but we also recognize the challenges that they are confronted with. The Department has always been committed in empowering our families,” said DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo during the awarding ceremony.
The Pantawid Pamilya is a social protection program that invests in the health and education of poor households primarily of children aged 0-18.
Currently, there are 4.3 million households who are part of the program nationwide.
“We take pride of the families awarded today. These model families have shown that through hard work, determination aided with government subsidy, they will be able to improve their families and their communities as well,” Taguiwalo added.
Other families who made it to the national competition were Tacda Family of Nueva Valencia Guimaras (1st runner-up), Masamoc Family of Masbate (2nd runner-up), Castillo Family of Batangas (3rd runner-up) and Bulso Family of Aurora (4th runner-up).
The criteria for judging during the search include the family’s involvement in community activities, values and the determination to improve the living condition amidst difficult situation.
Meanwhile, the family was emotional when the host announced that they are this year’s grand winner for the national search.
“Wako kasabot sa akong gibati pagkadungog naku nga among pamilya ang nakadaug kay maayo sad baya ang ubang pamilyang. (I had mixed emotions when I heard that we won because other families were also good.)teary-eyed Vicente said.
Marissa for her part shared that the cash prize they got from the search will help finance their eldest child’s school fees especially that she is a graduating student.
“Nalipay kaayo ko ani nga grasya, salamat sa Ginoo ug sa DSWD kay kaning among nadawat karon makatabang ug daku sa among pamilya labi na nga graduating akong anak nga si Ivy ug daghan kaayong galastuhanan, (I am grateful for this blessing, I thanked God and DSWD because the money we got will go a long way specially that Ivy is a graduating student.)” said Marissa.
Ivy is an electrical engineering student who is expected to graduate this October. Next to her is Rose Marie who is now a third year college student taking up Bachelor of Education, Prince is in day care and the youngest Vincent Ian is only six months old.
Aria Venice, Lee Mark and Vic Jun are the children-beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program who are enrolled in Bohol Institute of Technology-Jagna and Jagna Central Elementary School.
Vicente is an active religious leader who earns a living through fishing. Marissa is a house help with an average income of P3,000 a month. They have been grantees of the program since 2012.
Prior to their enrollment in the program, the couple admitted that they have vices like gambling and drinking alcoholic beverages but when they saw how their children suffered from their bad habits Vicente and Marissa changed.
Marissa disclosed that the FDS of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program also molded them on how to become better parents to their children.
She is an active parent leader of the Pantawid Pamilya for four years now and a member of the Local Poverty Reduction Action Team. Vicente for his part is active in church and even serves as speaker of the Pre-Jordan Seminar.
They have also become active members of the Couples for Christ and are presently the household leader of the group.
Often times, Vicente and Marissa wonder how they were able to send all of their children to school given their limited resources. Despite the many challenges the couple faced, they remained optimistic even after surviving Typhoon Queenie that left them homeless for months.