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    Posted January 1, 2014 by

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    Disaster preparedness lecture saves a family


    CAPIZ, PHILIPPINES – Cristina Bendoy, 33, knew that the heavy rains and powerful wind that super typhoon Haiyan would bring could put her family in danger. So before the storm made a landfall in her province and other parts of the country on November 8, she, her husband, and three children packed essentials such as flashlight, food, and clothes and evacuated their home.

    FDS, held once a month, is an activity of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the Philippines CCT. As one of the conditionalities of the program, Cristina and other beneficiaries attend FDS that serves as a venue for the discussion on practical topics such as effective parenting, husband and wife relationships, child development, laws affecting the Filipino family, gender and development, and home management.

    In one of the sessions, beneficiaries were taught to be disaster-ready – a very handy topic as the Philippines is prone to typhoons and other disasters.


    “Bago kami umalis ng bahay papuntang evacuation center, nagdala ako sa bag ng flashlight, pagkain, at damit para sa pamilya ko. Natutunan koang pagiging handa sa sakuna sa FDS (Before we going to the evacuation center, I packed flashlight, food, and clothes for my family. I learned about disaster preparedness in FDS),” said Cristina, a Set 4 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary.


    Cristina’s house was one of the millions of properties that the typhoon wiped out. The wind blew off their home’s roof, letting the water in and damaging picture frames, her kids’ medals and school supplies.

    “Nag-alala ako para sa mga anak ko kaya kami umalis. Safe naman kami pero yung mga gamit naming naiwan sa bahay, nabasa talaga (I was worried about my children that’s why we left. We were safe but all our things inside our house got wet),” she narrated.

    Cristina is grateful that aside from the cash grants her family receives from Pantawid Pamilya, she also learns many practical things whenever she attends FDS. She related, “Hindi talaga ako umaabsent sa FDS. Importante yung mga tinuturo sa amin tulad ng pagkakaroon ng tamang values at pagbibigay ng tulong sa kapwa, pagmamahalan, at pakikipagkaibigan (I always attend FDS. I find the topics we discuss very important like having proper values, helping and caring for neighbors, and importance of friendship.)”




    It would take several days for the Bendoy family to completely recover from their difficult experience. But despite what happened, she is hopeful that they will be able to surpass all challenges as long as they are together and receive assistance from Pantawid Pamilya.


    “Ito pong cash grant ay gagamitin ko pambili ng pagkain para sa mga anak ko. Para makakain naman sila ng masarap at masustansya. Pambili din ito ng ibang gamit na nasira dahil sa bagyo (I will use the cash grant to buy nutritious food for my kids. I will also buy things that we will need for fixing our house),” she said.


    As a balut vendor, her family’s income does not suffice to address the he needs of her three children. She and her husband need to work overtime to make ends meet. “Ang hirap-hirap po talaga ng buhay namin. Kaming mag-asawa maghapon kaming nagtitinda sa terminal. Minsan alas-otso na kami nakakauwi (Life is not easy for us. My husband and I work day and night. Sometimes we sell balut at the bus terminal until 8PM),”she said.


    When asked what have been the changes in her life since she became a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary, she said, “Malaking tulong kasi wala namang ganito noong bata pa ako. Mula pa maliit ako ganito na ang buhay ko, nagtitinda ng balut. Ayokong maranasan ng mga anak ko ang buhay namin ng asawa ko. Gusto ko makapagtapos sila ng pag-aaral (It has been really helpful to us. We don’t have it when I was young. I have been poor since I was a kid. I don’t my children to experience the difficult life that I and my husband had. I want them to finish school.)”


    Not losing hope


    Cristina’s three kids are her source of inspiration. She is proud of them as they are all doing well in school. Her eldest daughter has been a consistent honor student since Grade 1, and her other kids want to follow suit.


    “Simula Grade 1 hanggang Grade 6 nasa honor roll siya. Pati yung mga kapatid niya gusto siyang gayahin. Natutuwa kaming mag-asawa kasi masipag silang mag-aral (She’s in the honor roll since Grade 1 until Grade 6. Her siblings want to be like her. As their parents, we’re happy because they like studying),” she said.


    They may not have all the riches in the world and their home may take a while to be fixed, but as long as their faith and love for each other are strong, Cristina knows that her family can face any Yolanda that may come their way.

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