Compassion amid the pandemic

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Some people extend help because they expect the same or even greater favor in return. But for Dorothy and her group, helping comes with the most genuine intention – to be compassionate towards others, no matter how big or small, as long as it comes from the heart and it is the right thing to do.

Parent Leader Dorothy Magahin, 43, has become a household name in her community in Barangay Patiao, Peňarrubia, Abra after her selfless initiative in mobilizing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program  parent group  that she leads to share portion of their emergency subsidy with the most affected families of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the group observed that many families in their community were not able to receive the government’s emergency subsidy, Dorothy organized her members and proposed to shell out a portion of their subsidy to buy family food items as augmentation efforts for the affected families in their community.

“Nasubok po kami tungkol sa pagbabahagi ng kung anong meron kami. At nakikita ko rin na talagang lahat kami ay naghihirap ngayong pandemic lalo na ang mga kagaya naming kapos kaya nagawa naming magbigay din ng kaunting tulong sa abot ng aming makakaya mula sa ayudang aming natanggap (Our volunteerism initiative was  tested. I witnessed that no one was spared from the virus especially our fellow members who are also disadvantaged. So we decided this initiative to use some of our grant to help others in our own little way),” Dorothy shared.

Without any hesitation, her members agreed and they voluntarily contributed 120 pesos each from their Social Amelioration grant. From their contributions, they bought essential goods such as instant coffee, cooking oil, sugar, biscuits, and bagoong (fermented/salted fish sauce) and they packed it into bags. Each bag is intended for one family.

The Social Amelioration grant is provided through the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) as a part of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act which aims to mitigate the effects of the community quarantine implemented to help control the spread of the COVID-19 disease. For the month of April, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries received an additional amount of PhP 4,150.00 emergency subsidy on top of the regular grant that they receive.

Motivated to help

The group identified their recipients as those eligible families that are non-Pantawid beneficiaries and were not included in the SAP. Following the Inter-Agency Task Force guidelines, the group delivered the food packs to 30 families within their barangay on 9 April 2020.

She attributed their initiative to the lessons they learned from the monthly Family Development Session (FDS).

“Naisip ko na ito na ang pagkakataon na mai-apply namin ang mga natutunan namin sa FDS at ipakita rin ang aming pasasalamat sa gobyerno sa mga natanggap naming tulong (I realized that this is the right time to apply the learnings we got from the monthly FDS and this is also one way of showing gratitude for the assistance we receive from the government),” Dorothy said.

Dorothy is known before as a shy and timid type of person. She simply lives as a housekeeper taking care of their children and providing support to her husband, Dominador, who is an ice cream vendor and an on-call laborer.

Dorothy once planned to work abroad because of the high salary but she chose to stay with her children and supported her husband instead.

Her family became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilya in 2012. With the intervention of the program, Dorothy asserts that her family was empowered by becoming active and responsible members of the community through the lessons gained from the FDS. This further motivated her to become active in various people’s organizations and to participate in different skills and livelihood training.

At present, Dorothy continues to serve as PL in her community while she voluntarily teaches Values Education at Peňarrubia Integrated School. Even though she is not a licensed professional teacher, she offered her time in upholding positive Filipino values in her community. Her children Madelyn Rica, 15, and Maybelle Rhea, 13, are the currently monitored beneficiaries of the family who are both enrolled in high school.

Even before the pandemic, Dorothy is known in her barangay as generous and caring to others.

While some citizens malign the 4Ps beneficiaries’ initiative and even making them subjects of ridicule by accusing them of being indolent, Dorothy’s group was not affected by the criticisms because they believe that they have the pure intention to share what they have, even if they are also in need.

The group of Dorothy remains grounded and humble as they continue to be compliant with the program conditions and by living as examples in their community. They may only have shared little but their generosity and compassion for others define the true meaning of malasakit and bayanihan in them.

Dorothy hopes that other people would look at the bright side of their initiative and for them to also have the heart of compassion towards others. By DSWD-CAR, Marlo C. Abyado, Jr., with reports from Merly Carpio

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