SHE had to be both mother and father to her family. Selling kakanins and ready-to-wear items everyday in their barangay, she seemed to have memorized every alley and pathwalk in the area. Never bothered the sweat, the intense heat of the sun and the physical fatigue because of one reason.
What she had in mind were the faces of her children and her ailing husband who suffered from tuberculosis of the bones.
This was how Rosemarie Aro Demafiles, 30, of Purok Langis, Brgy. Banago, Bacolod City, pictured her year 2011. That time, she knew she had nobody to lean on to except herself. “My husband Patricio used to work as a traffic enforcer. He has been responsible in providing for the family. However, when he got sick, I was left at doing everything from putting food on the table to sending the children to school and paying for their education,” said Rosemarie.
Rosemarie said that their situation has pushed John Patrick to stop from his college schooling. He was taking up a Seafaring course back then. Jerome, on the other hand, has helped her through driving pedicabs.
Rosemarie’s fate, however, recently took an upside turn when she availed of the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Through the SLP, the project development officer assigned to their area, Duriza Oropesa, referred her to undergo the Sari-sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) in partnership with Negros Economic Development Corporation, Coca-cola, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
The Sustainable Livelihood Program is DSWD’s way of sustaining gains already infused in the implementation of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program through Family Development Sessions, which they are required to attend. Primarily, Pantawid Pamilya wants to send children to school healthy by providing cash grants to beneficiaries who comply with the conditions. It has, however, a built-in mechanism to help parents develop as productive and empowered individuals. Both Pantawid Pamilya and Sustainable Livelihood are programs under the Convergence Strategy, a scheme to ensure maximum results more than what each program could separately achieve. “Salamat dahil nalinang ang aking kaisipan at kung papaano matuto ng maayos na pagnenegosyo na hindi na po malulugi. Nagkaroon ako ng disiplina sa sarili kung paano mag-budget at magplano ng tama,” said Rosemarie.
After the STAR training, she shared that she only showed her certificate of attendance to Lopuez Mandalagan in Bacolod City and the management allowed her to open a credit line. She was allowed to get items worth P3,000. With this, Rosemarie said that she stopped walking all the nooks of their area and focused on her sari-sari store business.
“I applied what I learned in the STAR training in my sari-sari store. The first mission was to fill it with goods. And with help of the TESDA-COKE certificate, Lopues gave me the chance to have a credit line in their store,” she said.
Rosemarie said that she has learned many things during the training. These include marketing, keeping daily records, income and expense, managing credit, managing inventory, practicing good housekeeping and quality customer service, the essentials of merchandising and access to resources.
She shared that her husband Patricio is well now and is helping augment the family income through pedicab driving.
While Rosemarie admits that it would be difficult for now to finance for the schooling of her son John Patrick to go back to his College studies, she is thankful to the government for pouring its resources to them to uplift their conditions. John is due to start his short-term course on wielding with TESDA in partnership with DSWD.
Prior availment of livelihood, Rosemarie’s children have been grantees of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the government’s conditional cash transfer to ensure that children are in school and are healthy. Before the five-year term for them to avail of the program, however, DSWD covers them with livelihood program to ensure that they can stand on their own when the five-year period of receiving cash grant is over. Aside from being a beneficiary, she said that she also volunteered as a Parent Leader in their community. The Parent Leader sees to it that the other beneficiaries are complying with the conditions.
Further, she said that the government has left her a legacy that she will never forget. “I can articulate my ideas now. I also learned how to discipline myself,” she said.