Davao Oriental villager celebrates blessings amidst adversity

By Carmela C. Duron

BAGANGA, Davao Oriental, Dec. 7 (PNA) — For some, typhoon “Pablo” only brought devastation, loss and hopelessness. For others, it ushered in a renewed sense of hope and trust in the blessing of new beginnings.

Mila Alvar, 49, of Barangay Dapnan, Baganga, Davao Oriental believes that Pablo brought hope to her family.

Mila and Rene, 52, with their eight children are beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. “Pantawid Pamilya has been a huge help to my children. We were also awarded as a municipal winner for Huwarang Pamilya 2012 here in Baganga,” shared Mila.

In the onslaught of “Pablo” in December 2012, the Alvar family lost their home and livelihood. Yet, Mila and Rene continued to hope for a better tomorrow. In February 2013, just two months after the “Pablo” devastation, Rene was hospitalized at Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City.

“My husband underwent a gall bladder operation. Our hospital bill was around P120,000.00. But since I am a Pantawid beneficiary, I was automatically a recipient of PhilHealth. We did not pay anything at the hospital at all. I cried and thanked God and DSWD which never left us,” Mila tearfully recalled.

Another unexpected blessing came their way when her daughter, 24-year-old Lowella Jane, was accepted as one of the grantees of Students’ Grant-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (SGP-PA) at Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology (DOSCST) in Mati City. Lowella Jane will graduate in March 2016 in BS Agriculture.

SGP-PA is a college scholarship program for Pantawid Pamilya student-beneficiaries in partnership with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

In November 2014, Mila’s family was also one of the 360 recipients of the goat–raising project through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP). Each family was given one buck (male goat) and two does (female goat) to raise. Mila also helps in augmenting their family’s income by handcrafting bags made of straw and selling it in the neighborhood.

Then in April 2015, Rene was hired as one of the enumerators for Listahanan, one of the initiatives of DSWD that identifies who and where the poor are. “This is my simple way of thanking DSWD for all the good things it has given me and my family, so that more poor families may benefit from the assistance of the government),” shared Rene.

“We are very thankful to DSWD for all the assistance it has given to the less fortunate. My family and I will take care of all the assistance from DSWD. We also encourage others to take care of all the help they are getting from the government,” Mila said with gratitude in her eyes. (PNA)