Quezon City – Like most people, the Macasucol family aspired financial stability. They believe that financial security gives a person the confidence to face whatever life throws at them. Thanks to the efforts of all family members, the Macasucol family of Barangay Esperanza, Carmen, Surigao del Sur is now financially stable.
Prior to achieving this status, the family’s financial situation was extremely precarious. This was before they were accepted into the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-4Ps).
The Macasucol family consists of Carmen, 47, who works as a farmer and owns a small sari-sari store, and Ruel, 49, who works as a skilled construction worker in a private company in Madrid, Surigao del Sur. They are the proud parents of four sons: Jeffrey, Bryan, Kevin Jan, and Chris.
Due to financial constraints, neither parent was able to complete high school. Indeed, life is difficult for the family, especially when they are solely reliant on the income of the family head, who earns Php200-300 per day. Given the size of the household and the couple’s employment status, the income could not meet the needs of the family so Carmen sells ice cream to augment the family’s income.
Challenge & Blessing
Both parents believe that the only legacy they can leave to their sons is education. That is why, despite their financial situation, they did everything they could to send their children to school. Jeffrey, their eldest son, was able to complete high school and attend college, but after a year, his girlfriend, who is also a student, became pregnant. This was the family’s most difficult challenge since they had to support Jeffrey’s needs as well as those of his common-law wife because they shared an apartment.
This challenge, however, was met by a blessing when the family was chosen as a 4Ps beneficiary in 2011. The Program provides educational grants to families with children aged 0 to 15 years.
Bisan sa mga hagit na among naagian, gitubag sa Ginoo ang among mga panginahanglan. Aduna pud panalangin nga niabot sa dihang kami nahimong kabahin sa 4ps. Dako kaau ni nga abag alang sa pag-eskwela sa akong mga anak labi na nga naglisod gyud mi atong panahona. (Despite the challenges that we’ve been through, we persevered and through prayers, our needs are provided. We were also blessed when we became 4Ps beneficiary. This is a great help to my children’s education especially that it was a difficult time for us back then),” Carmen said.
Bryan, Kevin Jan, and Chris were all accepted into the Program. The government intervention was timely because it helped them supplement their needs, particularly at school. The siblings took advantage of the Program by demonstrating their determination to complete their studies in light of the difficulties their parents faced.
As a result, Bryan, the family’s second child, graduated from Marawi State University-Main Campus in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work degree. He was later hired at the DSWD Field Office Caraga as a Municipal Link Officer under 4Ps as a MOA worker, after passing the Social Work licensure examination. After two years, he was promoted to a Contractual position, earning him better employment status.
Jeffrey, the eldest son, and his partner also earned a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT) degree from Surigao del Sur State University-Cantilan. His partner is an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Taiwan. Jeffrey is currently employed as an electrician in a private company in Cebu City. Despite the fact that they are no longer together, they both financially support their child.
Carmen, who now owns a sari-sari store, is also involved in crop farming on their 2 1/2 hectare land, where they harvest 90 sacks of rice and earn around Php 70,000 per cropping. The family also purchased a 14-hectare plot of land on which they planted 30 coconut trees and harvest four times a year for an estimated income amounting Php 3,000.00.
Aside from that, the family is a recipient of several government programs. To name a few, the family is a member of the SLP SKA Association Microenterprise and a volunteer for the KC-NDDP, through which their barangay receives various community projects. They also benefitted from the SLP PAMANA project, which provides them with pre and post-harvest facilities.
The family collaboratively used their individual strengths to sustain and improve their financial situation. They emphasized their advantages rather than their disadvantages. As a result, the family voluntarily waived their rights to the Program because they could already support themselves financially. Their situation has changed dramatically from ten years ago, when the family was solely dependent on a meager income, to now, when four of the family members are working and can meet their basic needs. At present, the family’s income is sufficient to meet their needs as well as the educational needs of Kevin Jan, who is currently pursuing a degree in Criminology, and Chris, who is now in Grade 9.
The family’s readiness and plans can also be attributed to the many lessons learned in attending Family Development Sessions (FDS). As part of their plan to secure their future, they obtained Life and Health Insurance from the Social Security System (SSS) and PhilHealth. The family was also taught about disaster preparedness, which made them resilient in times of emergency.
The Macasucol family is living proof that success is possible if everyone in the family does their part. Getting out of poverty is possible no matter what the circumstances or how difficult life is. The government’s intervention, which they appropriately utilized contributed to their success.
Currently, the family is very visible in the community, offering assistance whenever it is needed, especially with the pandemic. They are busy participating in barangay activities, and they promise to continue assisting others, particularly their fellow Pantawid beneficiaries who are still working to improve their situation.