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A FATHER’S LOVE: Beyond walls, borders and blood

By: Jessa Mae O. Sotto, Morexette B. Erram, Rosalie O. Abatayo June 17,2018 - 10:00 PM

Their circumstances set them apart from each other; but three Cebuano fathers share the same goal to prove that their love for family conquers all — even the thick towering walls of prison, for one.

Edgardo Cuizon or Tatay Eddie may seem like the ordinary man on the street selling candies and biscuits.

Except that he isn’t.

In fact, it’s been a while since he has been on any street.


Tatay Eddie, 61, is a prisoner at the Cebu City Jail in Barangay Kalunasan, serving time for eight years in the facility run by the Bureau of Management and Penology (BJMP).


He was convicted of homicide in 2010 for a shooting incident which happened when he was deputy chief tanod of Barangay Parian, Cebu City.

When he landed in prison, he knew that his responsibility as a husband to his wife and a father to his seven children would not end there.

It was difficult at first, he said.

But Tatay Eddie managed to keep his promise to support his family financially, even though distance, walls, and jail security separated him from his loved ones.

“Pagsulod nako diri knockout gyod sila. Ako nalang gyod nangita og paagi nga makasurvive sila (When I was sent into prison they were all knocked out. I just had to find ways for them to survive),” he said.

Known as “Tatay” to prisoners and jail guards, Eddie was able to get permission to set-up a small sari-sari store inside the jail facility.

From selling biscuits, coffee and food which he himself cooks, he now can send between P1,000 to P3,000 two times a week to his family.

“Wala nako talikdi akong mga responsibilidad bisan napriso na ko. Lisod man gyod ma priso ka ug naa naka sa sulod. Bug-at na kaayo sa imong pamilya nga nanghasol naka nila mao na nga nangita ko diri og diskarte (I did not turn my back from my responsibility even though I am in prison. It is hard when you are jailed. You become a burden to your family but I looked for ways),” he said.

Two of Tatay Eddie’s seven children are still in school.

“Unsaon man na nako ang kwarta nga akong kita? Para ilaha gyod na. Naningkamot lang gyod ko sa sulod (What will I do with the money I earn inside? This is all for them. I try my best),” he said.

Tatay Eddie often longs for his family and misses being a hands-on on parent taking care of his children.

But he has become a father figure to around 5,000 inmates as the jail facility’s chief health aide who ensures that the medical needs of all prisoners are promptly attended to.

“Dunay plano ang Ginoo. Gawas ana wala gyod ko niya pasagdi. Samtang naa ko diri iya kong gitabangan pud aron nga makatabang ko’s akong pamilya sa gawas samtang nag atiman ko’s akong mga anak diri sa sulod nga pwerting daghana (God has plans. He has never abandoned me. Even while I’

m here, He helped me so that I can continue to help my family while I’m also taking care of my numerous children here inside the jail ),” he said.


For John Rhean Lara, he realized God’s plan for his life the moment he learned that he was going to be a father at 21, the age which marks a person’s transition into young adulthood.

John said that the responsibility of raising a family at a young age came as a shock when his girlfriend, Monique, announced that she was pregnant with their son.

John, now 23, was then on his final year in college and was at the peak of his dancing career as a member of an elite dance group in a Cebu City university which he attended.

“I was happy and excited but I was also worried – worried about how I would be able to raise a child, and afraid if my family would find out,” said John, the youngest of two siblings.

Despite an overwhelming feeling of disappointment, the young dad did not want to drop his new responsibilities as a father nor drop out of school.
He was determined to ensure that both his son and Monique would be well taken care of.

“We were staying in Toledo City when she was pregnant. I would wake up at dawn and catch the first bus trip so I could make it to my class in Cebu City at 7 A.M. and after class at 5 P.M., I would travel back again to Toledo. I wanted to take care of her every chance I got,” said John who did not want to rely on his parents for support.

He, instead, tapped his dance group for help in raising funds by holding children’s dance workshops in Cebu City and Toledo City.

He also ventured into online selling to earn extra income until he graduated, March 2017, with a degree in Education major in Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health (Mapeh).

“It wasn’t easy for me. I used to be shy and oftentimes, could not be relied on for chores and errands; but I learned to overcome these challenges for my baby,” said John who now lives in Mindanao with Monique to establish a family.

There, he worked as a job order employee of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) for a year before landing a job teaching Mapeh in a Chinese school in Butuan City.

“I will do everything to support my family no matter what,” said John adding that all his fears have dissipated after only a year into fatherhood.


“I can still remember when I first met Kira, “ said 25-year-old Stig Dagohoy of his adopted Doberman.

Stig poses with one of his Doberman dogs, named Flash

Of the 10 puppies available for adoption, Stig said that it was Kira who stood out.

“And that’s when I knew I wanted her in my life,” he said of the dog which became his first pet.

Stig traces his love for dogs to his childhood; but it was only when he adopted Kira in 2013 while studying in Cebu City, that he began to experience what it was like to be a “father”.

“It was just two days after I adopted Kira when I noticed that she was displaying signs of Parvo virus. She suffered diarrhea, and vomited. I sent her to a vet and they confirmed she had the Parvo virus,” recounted Stig.

Immediately, Stig realized that he must do everything he could to ensure that Kira will survive the illness.

“I spent a lot but it did not matter to me. After three days in the clinic, she was discharged. I took Kira home and continued her medication,” he said.
Kira died four years later in September 2017.

Although her death broke his heart, Stig, who now has his own family, continues to share his home with man’s best friend.

“I am very happy that my family also shares the same love for dogs,” he told CDN.

“ To me, dogs are more than just pets. They’re family. And that’s why I teach my son to treat our four new dogs: Slash, Arci, Hyper, and Mica, as members of the family too,” said Stig.

“Like our children, pets need our attention, care, and love. That’s why I consider myself as a dad, too, to my dogs,” he said.

Three stories, three dads — all are propelled by love. /with Benjie Talisic and Doris Mondragon)

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TAGS: Beyond, blood, borders, father's, love

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