Life is so amazing for Ms. Virginia Tubo, having been blessed with seven (7) children and a very hardworking husband.

 Ms. Virginia Tubo is a high school graduate. She tried to send herself to college but she was not able to finish the degree due to poverty. Though she considered her sons and daughter as her angels, she cannot deny the fact that there were several moments in her life that she reached to a point of surrendering.

With seven (7) children to feed every day is not that easy. Her husband Junit works as a crew member of a ferry boat in Basilisa earning a minimum of 800 php and a maximum of 1,200 php a week.  For the whole time, she struggled much to budget the money and tried to keep a peso for their needs the next days.

Due to monetary problem, there were instances that her children failed to attend some school related activities because she could not afford to buy them their activity uniforms.  Mama Virgie as fondly called by her children, can’t help but shed in tears for the situation. She saw in the eyes of her children the desire to join however dismayed them.

“ I want my children to get involved in all extra- curricular activities of the school but we are penniless,” in tearful eyes Mama Virgie narrated.

“ There were times that my kids were given with things they needed in school by their advisers sometimes their friends shared as well. All of these were because they were good in class. Of course I was glad and thankful but other than the gladness, I was in pain. My heart ached, I felt sorry for them, ” she added while tears fell while talking in her stuttered voice.

Poverty has shown its complexities to her family, with fervent hope to augment their finances; she baked rice cake (puto) and sold them in schools. She also worked as cashier in one of the grocery stores in Basilisa market but only earned 50 php a day.

Her husband, other than being a crew, overwhelmed himself to other jobs that can possibly maximize their earnings. Persuasively, her husband Junit was designated as a market collector in their municipality earning 150 php a day and also became one of the guards of their municipal mayor earning 80 php per day. But these jobs come in a mile after mile.

Though both of them have been working like carabaos, still it wasn’t enough to supply the needs of their children because as years continued to unfold, kids were continually growing thus, the expenses aggravated as well.

It was in 2008 when the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program came into the picture. Their municipality was identified by the Listahanan (formerly NHTS PR) as among those municipalities which are poor.

Fortunately, the Tubo family was among those beneficiaries. Mama Virgie didn’t have any idea then what the “survey “was all about.

As she recalled, she just answered all the questions asked by the enumerators.  She felt so ecstatic when she was informed that all the conditionalities of the said program befitted their family.

“ We were so blessed to be selected to become one of the beneficiaries of the slated program,” she happily shared.

When the program started its operation in their community and to other barangays as well, it was also the start that their wheel of life continued to bike itself and started to elevate. With the cash grants they received from the program, she can now provide the needs of her children not just the necessities in school but as well as their personal stuffs.

Because of the program, she was able to purchased vitamins, school uniforms and can pay their school expenses on time. Because of the grants they received, her children were challenged to do better than they did.

Her children excelled much in school. All of them are on top.

Virgie knows that Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is not the answer to their financial problems. But indeed, the program was able to assist them in providing the immediate needs of her family.

Her family understands that the program will not last for a lifetime so they, with the aid of their learning from Family Development Session (FDS) and from various visitors in their place; they continue to work and earn more.

Nonetheless, she also challenges her children to do better in school and to finish their chosen careers for their own advantage. To note, everybody knows that it’s the happiest moment of the parents to see their sons and daughters reached the pinnacles of their dreams.

Now, Ms. Tubo is so proud to say that her eldest child, Jessan Vie, twenty – three (23) years old  graduated in Mindanao State University (MSU) Marawi City with the degree Bachelor of Science in Biology and presently working in Father Saturnino Urious University  (FSUU) in the city of Butuan as laboratory-in-charge.

Her second child, Janine, twenty – two years (22) old graduated in Southwestern University in the city of Cebu with the degree Bachelor of Science in Business Administration through the scholarship program named, “Study now, Pay Later Plan”.

Her third child, Jonah Fe, twenty (20) years old is presently a third year student in MSU taking the degree of Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business. Her fourth child, Jeia, nineteen (19) years old  is now a first year college student in the same university taking up Bachelor of Science in Business Administration while the rest of her children, Junavil, fourteen (14), Junrey, thirteen (13) years old, and the youngest James, eight (8) years old  are still in high school and elementary.

It was Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program who taught her that her signature matters. Through her involvement in the many government programs; now, she is a member of the   Local Poverty Reduction Action Team (LPRAT) of which her signature is much needed in all the documents and also she is the auditor of their purok. Furthermore, because of the empowerment that the program brings, she becomes the president of Tag-abaca women’s organization.

In the same scene, her husband becomes a member of the Responder Team of Dinagat Islands Research and Rescue under the office of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council. Moreover, her husband is part of the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Committee (BADAC) and one of the recipients of the trainings their barangay sponsored for them.

Much more to say, Ms. Tubo, encourages the other members of their community to join her in the plight towards unity and social development.

The Tubo family is considered as a model family in their municipality. They continue to get involve to community affairs like that of attending to barangay meetings, barangay festivities, health seminars and other self-reflecting civic endeavor. They persistently promote through their gestures the quality of life despite monetary inadequacy. They exhibit good relation among their neighbors.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program did not only help them when it comes to financial concerns but also, it opens them a door of opportunities. This can be shown through the certificates and awards that they received and to the many activities that the couple is involved with.

” Kaya namin ang Pagbabago dahil masipag at madiskarte kami ng aking pamilya sa buhay!” Mama Virgie exclaimed.

### ( Social Marketing Unit/ DSWD FO Caraga)