Meet the Campugans of Cordova
He always dreamt of being called Engr. Clodualdo Campugan as he saw himself building homes and standing tall amid skyscrapers which he thought he would someday build.
But his dreams remained where he left his childhood as his parents asked him to quit school to begin tilling the soil at an early age.
“My parents would tell me that nobody gets rich out of staying in school. They said real wealth was found under the soil,” the 54-year-old Campugan recalled.
“My 13-year-old self looked closely at the soil that breaks as the tractor passed by it, but I couldn’t see the money that my parents were talking about. I did not understand until a few months later when we harvested the crops. Yes, there was a little money we got but I could not stand the long wait,” he added.
At 15 years old, Campugan — a native of Carcar — found himself wandering the streets of Cebu City looking for a job.
He worked as a carpenter.
“I started dreaming of becoming an engineer. But there was no chance of realizing that dream since schooling was very expensive and I also had to help my parents,” Campugan said.
“When I got married, I vowed that if we will have our own children, I will make sure that each of them will finish their degrees and have a better future than I had,” he added.
Campugan and his wife, Ofelia, have six children: Kimberly (23), Clavel (21), Jesper (20), Pamela (19), Clofel Mae (17) and Haneleth (15).
With their children’s one to two-year age gaps, the couple recalled that making ends meet for the family was an ordeal.
“When we started together, he used to earn P150 a day from his carpentry projects. I would have to stretch the amount for three meals and the children’s allowance in school. Good thing, my children also understood our situation and always helped us,” Ofelia said.
To complement her husband’s income, Ofelia sold viand to her neighbors in Barangay Poblacion, Cordova town.
“When Kimberly started high school, I asked the principal if I could sell snacks inside the school just to have extra income,” Ofelia said.
Campugan also collects plastic bottles which Ofelia and their children would turn into flower vases and sell for P75 each.
The Campugans are one of over 1,800 families in Cordova who are part of government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Programs (4Ps).
The family receives at least P2,000 every two months as educational assistance.
According to Ramel Taoy of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), DSWD monitors 4Ps beneficiaries to ensure that the aid is really spent on their children’s schooling.
The amount a family receives depends on the number of children below 18 years old that are still in school.
“I always say that whatever amount will be given would have to be spent for my children’s needs and not for anything else. I also tell my wife to refrain from borrowing money from our neighbors so that when the pantawid money arrives, we don’t have to spend it on paying debts,” said Campugan.
The Campugans are active advocates of good parenthood in their barangay.
Clodualdo belongs to the group, Empowerment and Reaffirmation of Paternal Abilities (Erpat) while Ofelia is with the Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan (Ubas) and Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) of Barangay Poblacion.
Their children are also active youth leaders of the village and the church.
Their son, Jesper has recently been elected as a Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) councilor while Clavel is the current president of the Parish Youth Coordinating Council (PYCC).
The couple said that they are very thankful that they are blessed with children who persevere in reaching their goals after witnessing their family’s struggles in life.
Campugan is himself now halfway through his own goal of having all of his children complete a good education.
Kimberly finished Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BS IT) at the Cordova Public College and is now working at the Mactan Export Processing Zone (MEPZ).
Last March, Jesper graduated from Cebu Normal University with a degree in Tourism. He now works for a mall in Lapu-lapu City.
Clavel finished a degree in Psychology at the University of the Philippines (UP-Cebu) last May and is currently looking for a job.
Pamela is now on her final year in college taking up a degree in Secondary Education.
Clofel Mae is now in Grade 12 while Haneleth is in Grade 9.
Meanwhile, Ofelia, who is currently battling stage 3 breast cancer, encouraged their children to plant vegetables in a container garden they have at home.
The vegetables in their small garden are now their source of food especially when they fall short of their budget.
The Campugans’ tale of resilience has earned them the recognition as Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya (model Pantawid family) for Cebu and
Their story will also be Central Visayas’ entry to the National Search for Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya 2018 which will be held in September.
According to DSWD, the story of the Campugans in rising above their dire circumstances is an example that can be looked upon not only by 4Ps beneficiaries but also by most Filipino families.
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