When Robilyn Coralde, 29, a resident of a small purok in Barangay Carpenito in the town of Tagbina in Surigao del Sur, received her emergency cash subsidy under the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP), she was told by her fellow beneficiaries to save a portion of the grant to prepare for the extension of the community quarantine in their area. She heeded this advice–but for a different reason.
From the cash aid she received, Robilyn bought groceries and a sack of rice. She then prepared food packs containing 3-5 kilos of rice, coffee, sardines, and instant noodles. Robilyn gave these food packs to her neighbors who, just like her, were greatly affected by the quarantine.
When asked why she shared the assistance she received despite being needy herself, she said it was just right to share her blessings to others.
A member of the Mandaya Tribe, Robilyn has been a beneficiary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) for four years. MCCT is a component of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) which aims to reach poor families not registered in the regular conditional cash transfer program, including homeless families, indigenous peoples (IPs), and other vulnerable sectors.
Robilyn is married to Marven Coralde since 2010 and has four children, namely Marbabes, Marlyn Rose, Mark Robven, and Marven Jr. They have been living in the Municipality of Tagbina for 10 years already, but she is originally from Cebu City.
She did not finish school and was not able to secure a decent job. Her husband is currently working in Laguna as a construction worker earning a minimum wage of P7,000 a month. Thus, she has to attend to the needs of their four children alone, but she does not see this as a burden.
“Usahay naay mga panahon nga lisod. Pero kung unsa ang mapadala sa akong bana, amo kining paiguan para sa mga panginahanglanon, labi na sa mga bata (There are times when it gets really hard. But whatever my husband sends us, we make sure we budget it properly, especially to address our children’s need),” she shared.
Robilyn ably manages their family’s income from her 4Ps-MCCT grant and her husband’s earnings to provide for all their needs. However, the COVID-19 pandemic severely affected the family’s income. Due to the imposition of the community quarantine in many parts of the country to contain the virus, her husband could not work and send money to them. This is why she has been very thankful for the SAP emergency cash subsidy extended by the government to families like them.
SAP, spearheaded by DSWD under Republic Act (RA) 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as On Act, provides emergency cash subsidy amounting to P5,000 to P8,000, based on regional minimum wage rate, to 18 million low-income families assessed to be most affected by the imposition of community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, given their existing life situations or circumstances. 4Ps beneficiaries are among the target beneficiaries of the program.
In times of crisis, it is tempting to conclude that people have become selfish to survive, but stories like that of Robilyn prove that difficult situations, in fact, help bring out the best in people. Her story also shows that sometimes, those who have less are the ones who selflessly share the little that they have to others.
“Nabati nako ang ilang kalisod. Wala ko naguol sa mga ginikanan kay mukaon man sila og bisan unsa. Ang akong gikagul-an ang ilang mga bata. Mao nga nakadesisyon mi sa akong bana nga mutabang sa mga naglisod bisan sa gamay nga pamaagi (I felt their struggles. I am not worried of the needs of the adults or parents, but I am worried about the children. That is why my husband and I decided to help them even in our own little way),” she ended, smiling. ###