Her Second Life (A journey of an exemplary child overcoming poverty)

Published by Glorei Lindio on


“Pangalawang buhay na niya yan, sabi ng doctor, nanganganib daw buhay namin, pero sabi ko kahit siya na lang mabuhay [It is her second life, doctor warned our life is at stake. I told them to save my baby instead],” said Yolanda F. Abesa in a brittle voice telling the miracle happened to their child Marilyn.

Marilyn, 14, of barangay Tabuco, Naga City is the youngest among the nine siblings of Yolanda, 54, and and Jose, 59. Their family is one among the 366,788 household benefitting under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a human development measure of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to the 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 schemes in Latin American and African countries, which have lifted millions of people around the world from poverty.

According to Marilyn, when she became a recipient of the Program, she gained hope to finish high school or college. “Sobra po ang tios namon–pinansyal, pero sa diit po na sentimo nakukua namon, dakula po na tabang ito para sa magurang ko. Dai na namroblema sinda sa tuition fee ko, school projects, sa pamasahe ko sa eskwelahan, pati po sa mga iba pang pangangaipo ko sa school [We suffer a lot—financially, but with the minimal amount of cash grant we received, it is a big help to us– my parents. They no longer thought of where to get the money to finance my tuition fee, school projects, transportation in going to school, and to other school needs],” she added.

Under the program, a beneficiary family receives P500 in health and P300 (elementary) or P500 (high school) in education that has three children.

A child’s way to simply help her parents

Experiencing life’s hardship and suffering at an early age is a challenge for Marilyn to carry and help her parents. But, instead of losing hope it has been her motivation to simply help her parents to their finances.

Marilyn’s father is the sole earner in the family since her Mother was prohibited to do household choirs and heavy works due to heart ailment and gout.

According to her Mother, it is Marilyn who is their strength to surpass the challenges and continue to aim and achieve their dreams for their children. She added that she (Marilyn) did not complain of their situation but rather help to the most she can.

“Kaya proud kami na nagdadakula siya na mabuot, mapadaba sa magurang, matali. Maugmahon kami at pasalamat kami sa Diyos na maski aki pa lang nakakatabang na siya samuya. Kaya biyaya man ito sa iya na naging Regional Exemplary Child siya nin Pantawid sa Bicol [We are proud that she is growing kind, loving to her parents and intelligent. That is why it is a gift to her to become the Regional Exemplary Child of Pantawid in Bicol],” her mother said.

Yolanda further stated that Marilyn voluntarily gave the reward of P15,000.00 she received from the competition to buy medicine and keep some for future finances for her education.

“Minsan ngani mataram na sana siya samon na nakabayad na siya sa ibang school projects niya, tapos didagdagan na lang namon pag-kulang, madiskarte siya [Sometimes, she will just inform us that she was able to pay for some of her school projects and we just add money if it is insufficient, she is resourceful], Yolanda utter.

What she does inside and out?

Apart from being quick-witted and clever, Marilyn responsibly performs her responsibilities at home and in school. She washes her own clothes and her Mother’s. “May kusa po si Marilyn, siya nagluluto, at titabangan ako sa balay [Marilyn has initiative, she in doing household choirs],” her mother said.

More than that, she never fails to clean the house and study at night as she says it is her way of paying back the love of her parents. “Nag-aspar ako nin halangkaw na grado, para maugma sila Ma at Pa [I aspire for high grades to make my parents happy],” she added.

She joined various school competitions and always on top of her class. “Nung elementary po ako salutatorian ako pero ngana, aim po ko na maging valedictorian at pag-graduate ko po nin College at may trabaho na po ako, matabangan ko na pamilya ko [When I am in elementary, I was a salutatorian but I aim for being a valedictorian, so that when I graduated in college, I would be able to look for a job and be able to help my family],” she said in eagerness.

According to one of her classmates, Frank Cedric M. Cecilio, 13, Marilyn is also very willing to share her ideas and teach them when they have trouble understanding their lessons. “Mabait po siya, a good leader and modelo siya po sa amin kasi pinakita niya yung kahalagahan ng pag-aaral [She is kind, a good leader, and a model to us because she showed us the importance of studying],” he added.

Her teacher in Biotechnology Michelle D. Lee also attests that Marilyn is very polite to them, active in extra and curricular activities, fluent in english and possess leadership qualities.

“Dipisil po na pagsabayun ang pag-adal pati matabang sa inda, pero gigibo ko po ito ta abo ko po nailing sila mama lalo na may ilang siya, sobra ang sakripisyo kaya sa diit na gibo atleast nakatabang po ako [It is hard to manage time for studying and helping my parents but I am doing it because I do not want to see them, my mom, sacrifice a lot so I help them in my own simple way],” Marilyn shared.

Lighting her path

Determined to shape her life and be able to keep track and hone her character, she manages to join in religious activities in her community.

“Lector po ako sa simbahan, dakol po kaya akong ma-ukudan. Naga sirbi man po ako para kay Mama, nagpi-pray po ako na sana dai na siya maghelang [I am a lector in the church to gain learning. I serve for my Mother, I pray for her to get well],” Marilyn expressed.

Also, she always prays at night and makes God as the center of her life. “Yun po ang itinuro sa akin ng magulang ko para gabayan ako ni God sa lahat ng ginagawa ko po [It is what my parents thought me to do so that God will always guide me in everything I do],” she added.

She added that she also encourages her classmates to go to church during Sundays and pray all the time to honor to God.

Noble Service to others

Having the heart to help, Marilyn engages in some of the activities being conducted in their community.

“Naglilinis po kami sa daan, nag-instra sa clean and green activity po sa barangay, tapos sa brigade eskwela. Kasi po gusto ko po i-advocate su pagtao nin importansya sa malinig na kapalibutan. [We clean the road and join in the clean and green activity conducted in our barangay, and the brigade eskwela. Because I want to be an advocate in putting importance to clean environment],” Marilyn stated.

Her mother also said that although she is the youngest in the house but Mairlyn act and talk like that of an adult. “Titabangan niya kahit sisay na nangangaipo, [He give wilfully help anyone in need],” her mother stated.

Marilyn may be still be young to go through a lot of circumstances and hardship in life but she is strong and with a brave heart to face the challenges. From the start she knew where she is leading and determined to do it saying “Gusto ko magka-igwang permanenteng trabaho para matawan nin maray na buhay an pamilya ko [I want to have a permanent job to give a good life to my family.” She has a noble heart to help and never fails to show love to her parents. “Kaya po maski aki pa sana dapat po aram ta na ang gusto ta sa buhay, ta dakula po ang role ta para sa pagbabago nin banwa. Mag-adal po kita nin maray, padabaon ta po ang mga gurang at magtabang sa maski sa simple lang [That is why even if we are still young we need to know what we want, because we have a big role to change our country. Let us study hard, love our parents and help others in simple ways],” she ended.***G.Lindio,IO-Pantawid

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