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Dela Peña family adjudged 4Ps ‘model family’ winner in Central Visayas

DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental, October 11 (PIA) -- A community-oriented family in Negros Oriental has been adjudged in this year’s Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya in Central Visayas.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), recognized Rustico and Helen Dela Peña from Brgy. Nagboalao, Basay who bested other contenders from other provinces of Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor in the search for family ambassadors. 

Rustico works as a construction worker, fisherman, and farmer, while Helen serves as a barangay health worker. The family is a 4Ps cash grantee, which helped their children gain a college education.

Over the course of 12 years, Rustico’s initiatives have been instrumental in providing water access to residents in their community. 

Rustico and Helen Dela Peña together with their children and grandchildren. (DSWD)
Water spring 

Rustico stumbled upon a water spring within the 4.5-hectare land granted to him through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) certificate stewardship contract. Determined to make the most of this opportunity, he diligently cultivated the land and planted it with an array of fruit-bearing and forest trees.

The community was struggling with water scarcity by then. Barangay residents have to travel between 30 minutes to an hour just to fetch water from a well in the nearby barangay. Rustico, together with his family, was determined to find a solution to the lack of water access in their area.

Working with 40 other household heads, Rustico started discussions to strategize and execute their water system plan. The first step involved buying a pump using his own money worth P5,000, then acquiring 400 meters of pipes and hose worth P10,000, which was provided by the Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) of Nagboalao. This infrastructure was vital to transport and distribute the water to the respective homes.

As time went on, the group of households that Rustico first gathered eventually formed the Lintob Water System Association.

The association grew from an initial 40 to 80 households. Currently, there are already 150 household members in the Lintob Water System Association.

Community transformation

At the heart of this community transformation was Rustico himself, serving as the mastermind behind the installation of pumps, pipes, and hoses. He was able to apply his background in masonry and carpentry, as he previously worked as a construction worker. He became the plumber and electrician for the water system, spearheading its implementation.

The Dela Peña family also initiated the "Kapunungan sa Pagtinabangay,” an activity that is part of the water system association. Under this system, each household contributes P100 for a total of P15,000 worth of contribution. This provides for 100 kilos of rice to be given to a household if a family member passes away. Since the start of the initiative in 2021, the association has already helped five household members.

The collective effort of the community, with the Dela Peña family at the helm, has led to a sustainable solution to the water scarcity challenge in their barangay.

They were also able to save time in fetching water from the nearby barangay and address the need for potable water among the household members based on the water sampling by Basay municipal government. 

Through the Dela Peña family’s resourcefulness and commitment, they have not only ensured the availability of clean water in their community and burial assistance among household members, but have also created an exemplary model of a community-oriented family.

Community service

Rustico and Helen's story is a testament to a family’s determination, hard work, and community service while striving to break the cycle of poverty in order to create a better life for their nine children. Facing financial challenges, they took on various jobs to provide for their family's basic needs and educational expenses for their children.

DSWD Region 7 Information Officer Leah Quintana said the Dela Peña family’s story is truly inspirational and worthy of being followed by other 4Ps beneficiaries that can serve as role models in the communities.The 4Ps plays a crucial role in supporting the Filipino family and enabling their children to pursue their education.

The Dela Peña family received a cash prize and a plaque of recognition from the DSWD-7. They also represented the Central Visayas region during the 4Ps National Family Week on October 10-13, 2023 in Metro Manila, together with other regional winners from all over the country.

The Dela Peña family thanked the DSWD for recognizing their efforts not only for the family but for the community.

The Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya aims to recognize family beneficiaries of the 4Ps who maintain strong family ties, demonstrate positive Filipino values, and create a positive impact in the community where they reside.

The criteria for selection of Huwarang Pamilya includes the following: a family that maintains strong ties and harmonious relationships and upholds Filipino values despite the challenges that poverty causes or brings (25%); a family that practices and promotes healthy living and taking care of the environment (20%); a family that is actively involved in community activities (20%); a family who inspires other members of the community (20%); and a family who strives to improve living conditions amid difficult situations (15%).

As a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary, the family should comply with the program’s conditions, such as attending the monthly Family Development Session (FDS) and ensuring the children are regularly vaccinated. 

The search for Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya aims to recognize exemplary family beneficiaries and showcase their stories of hope and resilience. (JCT/PIA7 Negros Oriental with reports from DSWD)

About the Author

Jennifer Tilos


Region 7

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