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by on Dec.05, 2014, under PAGCOR CSR

PAGCOR Feeding Program benefits poor families in Davao Region


For many poor parents in remote communities, sending their children to live with distant relatives or complete strangers is a common practice. Because of extreme poverty, most families would sacrifice to live apart just to fill their empty stomachs and survive.

But Ana and Rodrigo, parents of four kids, from Butuan City are different. They would rather go through the worst hardships just to keep their family together. Both Ana and Rodrigo were forced to live away from their families at a very young age. Rodrigo was only seven years old when he lived with a relative who sent him to school in exchange for his help in tending their farm. On the other hand, Ana was 11 years old when she started working as a househelp. Ana and Rodrigo knew how hard it was to live under someone else’s roof just to have something to eat and give to their families.

Similar to Ana and Rodrigo, Roquina and Edgardo from Davao City would do everything to keep their family intact despite their struggles in life. At times, when life gets too difficult, they fail to give their children even one decent meal a day. But they said they have to accept their fate. “Ang mahalaga ay sama-sama kami at buo ang pamilya namin,” Edgardo said.

Both couples saw a ray of hope after receiving the good news that their children were chosen as PAGCOR Feeding Program beneficiaries. Despite the difficulties of daily survival, they are now assured that their children will not be hungry while in school.

The PAGCOR Feeding Program is being carried out in 14 public schools in the Davao region. Since the feeding program’s launch last November 3, 2014, a total of 1,000 undernourished children from the various public elementary schools in the cities of Butuan, Iligan, Tagum and Davao are now being served nutritious lunch. They will be fed with complete meals once a day during school days for five months.


Feeding Aid Goes A Long Way

Under the current PAGCOR management, the agency has been allocating an annual budget of P40 million for its feeding project. For School Year 2014-2015 alone, the program is targeting to cover more than 10,000 malnourished public school students in roughly 175 schools nationwide.

Since July 2010, the PAGCOR Feeding Program has already gone a long way in improving the health of about 40,000 children enrolled in more than 500 government subsidized schools all over the country.


Dreaming of a Better Life

Angelina – the 10-year-old daughter of Ana and Rodrigo – was chosen as one of the 50 PAGCOR feeding program beneficiaries in Taguibo Elementary School, Butuan City.

“Malaking bagay para po sa amin itong PAGCOR Feeding Program. Nagpapa-salamat ako na makaka-kain na nang husto ang aming anak,” 41 year-old Ana said as she heaved a sigh of relief.

Without any stable source of income, Ana and her husband Rodrigo only earn very little from tending other people’s farms. “Swerte na kung kumita kami ng P300 bilang porsyento sa pagsasaka. Kapag may magpapa-tanim lang saka kami kumikita. Ang pang-araw-araw na gastos namin ay galing sa anak ko na huminto ng pag-aaral para mag-gasoline boy,” she related.

According to Ana, their simple wish is to see their four children have a better life, and for their 10-year-old daughter to grow up healthy. “Hindi ganito ang gusto ko para sa kanila. Gusto ko may trabaho silang matatag para sa kanilang pamilya. Ayokong maranasan nila ang ganitong hirap, na ang anak nila ay tinatawag na malnourished,” she emotionally said.

Ana’s daughter Angelina is happy that her parents will no longer have to worry about what she will eat, especially in school. “Ang gagawin ko na lang po ay pumasok araw-araw, mag-aral ng mabuti at magtapos ng pag-aaral. Maraming salamat po sa tulong ng PAGCOR,” she shyly said.

According to Butuan City DepEd District Supervisor Elvira Paulin, the PAGCOR Feeding Program is a big help to their student-beneficiaries. “Maraming bata ang kulang sa nutrisyon. Malaki ang maitu-tulong ng (PAGCOR) feeding program para yung height at weight ng mga bata ay maagapan at maging wasto ayon sa kanilang edad. Nakaka-tulong din ang masustansyang pagkain sa kanilang katalinuhan,” she added.

Paulin also said that the PAGCOR Feeding Program motivates the beneficiaries to go to school. “Malaking tulong itong ginagawa ng PAGCOR sa mga paaralan kasi hindi na liliban ang mga estudyante sa kanilang klase. Marami sa kanila ang nae-engganyo na pumasok dahil sa feeding program. Malaki din ang mababawas sa gastos sa pagkain ng mga magulang,” the DepEd official said.


PAGCOR Feeding Program a Big Relief

Roquina and Edgardo have eight children. Three of their kids (Maxine, 12; Kimberly, 10; and Eden Grace, 8) study at the V. L. Angliongto Sr. Elementary School in Davao City. They are among the 100 PAGCOR feeding beneficiaries in their school for this year.

Roquina related that PAGCOR’s feeding program brings great relief to her family. Providing healthy meals to their children is something that the Barquio family could not afford every day. “Swerte na kapag maka-P150 na kita ang aking asawa sa isang araw niyang pasada sa tricycle” she added.

With a meager income, their three older children decided to put their dreams on hold to work and help their younger siblings finish their studies. “Yung panganay naming lalaki, pumasok na utility. Ang dalawang nakaka-tandang babae ay pareho namang nag-trabaho na katulong,” Roquina said.

The 39-year-old mother feels sorry that she could not contribute to the family’s income. “Dito lang ako sa bahay. Kailangan ko kasing alagaan ang mali-liit pang anak (a two year-old and a six year-old special child),” she said.

Roquina considers the inclusion of her three children in the PAGCOR Feeding Program a big blessing. “Kahit maraming mga batang nangangailangan ng tulong ay napili pa din sila,” she mused.

Meanwhile, Roquina’s daughter Maxine said the timely help from PAGCOR would mean that she no longer has to borrow money from her classmates to buy food. “Nakaka-tipid na po kami dahil sa Feeding Program. Dati po ‘pag wala kaming pagkain, naghihiraman kami ng pera pambili ng pagkain. Ngayon hindi na kami gagastos,” Maxine said. (Ciara Mabalot)

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