Helping others to get employed even in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic is such a great blessing for both employees and employers. This ensures that business continue to operate and people earn some income.

This is the story of the Amar Family, a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiary in Trento, Agusan del Sur, who runs not just one, but four stores selling native products along the Trento – Davao highway. With the couple’s determination to rise after being unemployed, the small store built with faith turned into a big one. But just like some of the common business stories, the family also experienced hardships, but they never gave up. Instead, they worked even harder in order to sustain the needs of their growing family.


The Amar family take a pose inside their own dream house.

The family is composed of the parents Romulo and Florefel, and their 3 children. They live in Barangay Langkilaan, Trento, Agusan del Sur – living in Florefel’s parents house. Both parents were not able to finish college due to life’s hardships. But their dream is to give a comfortable life for the family; a better life where they can put meals on the table and send their children to school. But for forty-nine year old Romulo, working as a security guard, life is not as easy as they planned with his wife, given the demands of raising a family of 5. Florefel on the other hand, worked as cashier in a motor shop. When the children needed more time and guidance, she had to stop working to attend their needs. Later, Mr. Romulo’s company had undergone retrenchment where he resigned from work which resulted to further struggles of the family.

Luckily, the couple’s daughter Keziah, is a monitored child of the 4Ps under the household name Ofelia Hermoso – Florefel’s mother. The other slots were allotted to her brother/sister in law who lives in the same household. The program helps the couple in financing the educational need of their child; however, due to the couple’s unemployed status, they still were struggling to make ends meet.


Quality native products were displayed at Amar Store located in Barangay Langkilaan, Trento, Agusan del Sur.

The couple needed to come up with other options in order to provide the daily needs of the family. With a small hope built with faith, the couple put up a small store of native products along the highway. They gradually bought rattan for basket making and bought handicrafts from their neighbours to be displayed in their small store. At the start of their venture, it seemed challenging for the couple since they are not the only native crafts shop in the area. But instead of straight up competing, the other owners tried helping them so that they can survive. Bayanihan played a great part in all their success.

Budgeting was the top priority of the family. When the family received their cash grants from the program, they set it aside for their child’s needs in terms of education and health, and the rest is set aside as savings for the expansion of their business. As a result, the small grant was multiplied and the couple were able to purchased bongo for faster and safe delivery of the products going to Davao Region.

As of today, they have opened branches in Tagum City, Brgy. Bangkerohan, Davao City, and Matanao, Davao del Sur, that earns a net monthly income of Php88,000 to Php100,000.

“Disiplina ang nahimong susi nganung nagmalamposon mi sa among gamay  nga negosyo. Ug nagpasalamat pud mi sa programa kay dinhi nagsugod ang among tinguha nga mag negosyo pinaagi sa mabilin nga grant sa akong anak. (Discipline was the key why we were successful in our small business. I would like to express my gratitude to the program because it helped not just my child’s education, but also we were able to start our business with the small savings we had from the cash grant,” Florefel said.

After Ofelia Hermosa passed away, Romulo became the household grantee for the family.


Mrs. Florefel Amar makes an inventory prior delivering it to other branches.

With the expansion of the family’s business, they have also expanded the hiring of workers, from two to nine basket weavers with no age limit. The couple experienced how it felt to be unemployed, that is why they help their unemployed neighbors to secure work with them with a salary of Php300 to Php500 a day.

Even during the height of the pandemic, the couple tried their best to open their store so that the workers’ income will not be affected. This is how the family returned God’s favour by helping jobless individuals. They are also helping other shops to produce more native products by buying and displaying it in their different branches.

Recently, the Amar Family, was one of the families invited during the KATUMANAN, a regional activity recognizing 4ps beneficiaries who graduated or exited from the program. As of today, the couple is hands-on to their 4 branches, where Romulo is in-charge for the purchasing and delivering of the products, while Florefel is assigned in the inventory department.  ###(Social Marketing Section/DSWD Field Office Caraga).

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