In the heart of Barangay Poblacion, Cateel, Davao Oriental, a remarkable success story of a 4Ps beneficiary unfolds. Mr. Joventino Cervantes and Ms. Rogelia Solante, originally from Leyte, raised their family with perseverance and hope. Blessed with 10 children, their 9th child, Khane Jevie S. Cervantes, recently brought pride to her family and community by claiming the Top 1 in the March 2024 Licensure Examination for Professional Teachers released on May 24, 2024.

Journey with 4Ps.

The Cervantes family officially became 4Ps beneficiaries on October 30, 2014. At that time, Khane and her sister Grace Marie were the monitored children under the program. The family’s income was modest, barely enough to meet the needs of all its members. Khane’s parents often described their financial situation as “igo-igo lang” (just enough), making the support from 4Ps crucial.

In an interview, Khane recalled her Grade 7 days in 2014 when they were still recovering from the devastation of Typhoon Pablo in 2012. “Nakatulong ang grants dahil medyo naitatawid ang pangangailangan namin, lalo na sa school. Nahihiya akong manghingi ng pera pang-project at dagdag pamasahe sa parents ko dahil nakikita kong nahihirapan sila,” she shared, expressing gratitude for the financial assistance that eased their burden during challenging times.

Rising to the Top.

Achieving the top spot in the LET examination felt surreal for Khane. “Nagsisink-in lang ang pagkapasa ko sa board exam dahil sa mga nag-iinterview sa akin. Hindi ako makapaniwala dahil sa dami ng takers, nakuha ko ang Top 1,” she stated. Her success came after a rigorous five-month review period.

During her college years, Khane benefited from the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) Tertiary Education Support Program, receiving Php 20,000 per semester. This financial aid, coupled with her enrollment in a state university, alleviated the financial burdens of her education.

Inspiring Resilience and Determination.

Despite the financial hardships, Khane never felt the urge to give up. Inspired by her parents’ support and the mindset they instilled in her, she aimed to break the cycle of poverty within her family. “Luckily, sina mama at papa, they value education so much. Kahit hirap kami financially, hindi nila pinaparamdam na pwede kang mag-stop muna. Kahit hirap, ipupush ka nila na, sige lang, kaya to, patuloy lang. So parang hindi ko na-feel all throughout na sumuko,” Khane stated.

Khane’s message to her fellow beneficiaries is one of hope and determination. “There’s a time na parang masasabi mo, hanggang dito na lang ba talaga ako? Hindi na ba mababago ang sitwasyon ko? I know what it’s like, I’ve been there. Pero believe me, when you want something and you work hard for it, it’s really possible to get out of your situation. Now that there are programs from the government helping low-income families, it’s up to them to explore and make the most of these opportunities.”

Reflecting on the Program’s Impact.

Having experienced firsthand the benefits of the 4Ps, Khane firmly believes in its efficacy. “I think the program itself is working and is perfect on its own. It’s just that may mga negative feedback lang because some beneficiaries don’t spend it on what it’s meant for, like education and basic needs of the family.”

Khane’s story is a testament to the transformative power of education and government support programs such as 4Ps. Her journey from a struggling student to the top of her class in the LET exam is an inspiring reminder that with hard work, determination, and the right support, breaking free from the chains of poverty is indeed possible.