A Pantawid Pamilya mother beats the odds of gambling addiction

Published by Glorei Lindio on

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Forty eight years old Helen B. Balce of Barangay Anameam, Labo, Camarines Norte beats the odds of her addiction in gambling.

It appeared to be an everyday routine practice for Helen to gamble the money left in her pocket. “Isa po ako sa matatawag na tamad na magulang, dahil mas inuuna ko pa ang magsugal kaysa mag-attend ng meeting sa eskwelahan ng mga anak ko at mga assembly sa barangay [I am one among those people who can be called a stubborn parent because I prioritize gambling rather than attending meetings of my children in school and assembly in the community],” she said.

Also, she admitted that his husband is a binge drinker. “Pareho po kami na napapabayaan ang aming mga anak [We both neglect our responsibilities to our children],” she affirmed.

However, a turning point in their life happened when they become included as beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. “Isang malaking pagbabago sa aking buhay ng dumating ang programa ng DSWD. Pinilit kong magbago nung maging miyembro ako ng pantawid [It is big transformation in my life when DSWD came. I decided to change when I became a member of Pantawid],” she said.

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a human development measure of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to poorest of the poor, to improve the health, nutrition, and the education of children aged 0-18. It is patterned after the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) schemes in Latin American and African countries, which have lifted millions of people around the world from poverty.

Under the program, a beneficiary family with three children received a cash assistance of P500 for health, and P300 for education of children in elementary or P500 in high school.

Helen added that the Family Development Session (FDS) which is a monthly meeting being conducted to the beneficiaries made her realize the importance of education and family values. “Sa FDS natutunan ko na maging responsableng ina sa anak at asawa. Nakatulong din ito na buguhin yung asawa ko, hindi na po siya manginginom ngayon [Through FDS I learned to become a responsible mother to my children and wife. It also helped my husband to change, he is no longer alcoholic],” she revealed.

The cash grant they received also made her children to regularly attend the class. “Araw-araw na sila nakakapasok sa eskwelahan. Hindi gaya ng dati na halos hindi nila makumpleto na pumasok sa isang linggo dahil sa kakulangan sa budget [Now, they can daily come to school. Unlike before, they cannot even complete their attendance the whole week due to lack of budget],” she stated.

Helen was also able to save money from the cash grant she received which she uses as a capital in selling pineapples. “Kahit mapagod okey lang po basta ubos ang tinda kong pinya. Nagsisikap ako para sa pamilya ko. Tinigilan ko ang pagsusugal kasi gusto ko patunayan na mahal ko sila at ayaw ko maranasan ang hirap na dinanas ko [Although, it is very tiring but it is ok as long as I sell everything. I persevere for my family. I stop gambling because I wanted to prove to them (kids) that I love them and I do not want them to experience the same hardships],” she said.

As a mother she is determined to attain her children’s dream. “Sa sipag at pagpupursige ko na magtinda ng pinya at tubo ay kaya kong maibigay ang pangangailangan ng pamilya ko. At sa tulong ng pantawid ay pipilitin ko sa abot ng makakaya ko na mapatapos ang mga anak ko ng pag-aaral. Alam ko na edukasyon ang pinakamahalaga para makamit natin ang ating minimithi sa buhay [Through hard work and perseverance in selling pineapples and sugarcane, I can provide the needs of my family. And through the help of Pantawid, I will strive my best to let my children finish their education. Because I know that education is important to achieve our wants in life],” she said.

She added that Pantawid Pamilya has been a blessing to her family. “Napakalaking blessing ng Panginoon na ako ay naging miyembro ng programang pantawid. Kaya sobra ko po itong pinapahalagahan at sana marami pang matulungan ang programang ito na mga nangangailangan. [It is a huge blessing from God that we became a member of Pantawid program. That is why I put importance to it and I hope the program will be able to help more people who are in dire need],” she emphasized.

Helen may have a long way to go in pursuing her dreams for her family but as she said “faith and perseverance” is the key to improve everyone’s living.***With reports from Fernando Gomez, municipal link, G.Lindio, IO-Pantawid

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