Toledo woman shares how to get out of poverty: 4Ps + hard work
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines — From being a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) monitored child, Ann Millenie Antoque, 24, persevered, worked hard to finish her studies and realized her dreams to help her family get out of poverty.
With her dedication and perseverance, Antoque now serves as the Municipal Link (ML) in the town of Pinamungajan.
At a young age, Antoque, a resident of Toledo City, witnessed that life is never a walk in the park, but rather about overcoming challenges that life throws at you.
Antoque’s father, Anacleto Sr., works as a driver while her mother, Annabelle, augments the family’s income through her mini sari-sari store at home.
She recalled that while she was still in grade school, she barely had school supplies and often could not participate in school activities that would require fees and other contributions.
However, she understands the limited resources that their family has and acknowledges the work and determination of her parents just to provide for their needs.
“Igo ra gyud to ang sweldo sa akong Papa para sa among adlaw adlaw nga panganihanglanon ug usahay magkulang pa gyud mao nga usahay pud dili ko maka-apil sa mga activities sa eskwelahan,” Antoque said.
(The salary of my papa is only for our day to day needs and sometimes it is still not enough and because of this, sometimes, I could not join the school activities.)
Along with her, Antoque has three brothers who are equally studious and determined to finish their studies.
“Dako ang akong pasalamat kay bisan tuod wala ko nahimugso sa datu nga pamilya apan kanunay ang sakripisyo ug pagpaningkamot sa akong mga ginikanan,” she added.
(I am so grateful that even if I am not born to a rich family but my parents are always working and sacrificing for us.)
Being Enrolled in 4Ps
In 2010, Antoque’s family became a 4Ps beneficiary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
During that time, Antoque started to realize that this could be the start of achieving her dreams in life.
She said that the program, through the cash grants they received, assisted her and her sibling’s education expenses. They could now purchase other school supplies and pay school fees.
The 4Ps have impacted Ann’s life in numerous ways. It provided not only the financial support her family needed through the cash grants for education, health, and nutrition but more so, it opened her eyes to see the essence of social work. It widens her perspective that poverty could be alleviated, and most especially, it ignited her desire to pursue the social work profession.
Influenced in Social Work
Back in high school, Antoque had an opportunity to observe 4Ps Municipal Links (ML) while she accompanied her parents during their monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS).
She said that she was amazed by their passion and dedication to helping the poor and disadvantaged.
“I told myself, I want to be like her, an instrument in delivering social services and most importantly, one who gives hope to humanity,” she said.
She also asked the ML what course in college she could enroll to have that kind of work, which would give her the desire to pursue the social work course.
However, since she already reached the age of 18, Antoque could no longer receive an education grant from 4Ps.
Determined to pursue higher education, she applied for different scholarship grants. Luckily, she was accepted as a scholar under the Doña Beatriz Jereza Scholarship when she enrolled in the social work course at the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) in Cebu City.
As a scholar, she tried to balance her time between her studies and as a working student assigned as a student assistant at the Senior High School Department of USPF.
In the succeeding year, she applied for the Carmen Copper Academic Scholarship at the mining company where her father works. She was accepted as a scholar and availed the full tuition on the condition of maintaining good grades at school.
Antoque also received the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). She received an allowance for her school books, school supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses, including a reasonable allowance for house rental and other education-related expenses.
She graduated in July 2022 with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Social Work and passed the board examination in September 2022 where she became the overall 9th place.
“Dili sayon, apan tungod sa 4Ps nga maoy nagtukmod kanako, dako ang akong rason nga mopadayon pagkugi kay sa ginaingun pa sa akong mga ginikanan, sa pagpaningkamot ang tanang pangandoy pwedeng makab-ot,” she added.
(It is not easy, but because of 4Ps which pushed me, there is a big chance for me to work hard because as what my parents said by working hard, all your dreams can be realized.)
Working at DSWD
After taking up the social work board examination, Antoque worked as a social welfare assistant in the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) in her hometown in Toledo.
In 2023, she tried to apply to DSWD Field Office VII, when the agency posted the massive hiring of 4Ps City and Municipal Links (C/MLs).
“In order to give back the help I once received, there is no better way to show than to be part of the program implementation. To become an angel in a red vest is a fulfillment of my mission to help others who need it the most,” she said.
For Ann, this is another milestone for their family.
Her eldest brother, Anacleto Antoque Jr., is a mass communication graduate and currently works as a call center agent. Her second brother, Arvin Niño Antoque, finished a marine engineering course and is now working as a seafarer, and her youngest brother, Alan Francis Antoque, is presently studying as a second-year college student taking up marine transportation.
“We are proud to be former 4Ps monitored children and we are the products of the human capital investment of the government,” this Toledo woman said.
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.