Persistence begets triumph. This is one mantra that 33-year-old Bobit O. Dalatag believes. Indeed his persistence to lead a good life paid-off.
"From dawn to dusk, I witnessed my father day in day out tilling the land. That never-ending grind pushed me to persevere and now I am the person I never imagined I could become," Bobit related.
Bobit graduated Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Liceo de Davao in Tagum City with flying colors. For over a year now he has served his community in Sto. Tomas as Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Community Facilitator under the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Indigenous Peoples (MCCT-IP).
A member of the Ata Manobo tribe, Bobit is a single parent and was a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary before he got hired at DSWD. He has nine siblings and both his parents are farmers.
"My family life was never easy. We lived in a very remote village sans neighbors and far from community structures. Government services could not even make it to our community. My six siblings died of illness due to poverty," Bobit recalled.
"I did not want to end up a farmer, thus I decided and determined to pursue schooling," he said.
From grade school through high school, Bobit said he endured hiking eight kilometers to and from school every day to attend his classes. "This and all the sacrifices we have mustered in the family inspired me to continue my studies notwithstanding the imminent hardships."
Bobit entered college at age 26. "I was very much unsure then if I could survive without any financial help from my parents," he said.
However, Bobit's dream to survive the tertiary level started to become a reality through a scholarship from a national government organization. He received PHP 5,000.00 every semester to augment his funds for school needs.
When life in college was getting harder, Bobit knew he could not pull through if he could not earn extra income to cover his additional school expenses.
"One day, I was informed that our school was looking for a part time janitor. I immediately applied so that my 18 units every semester will be paid off," Bobit said.
Realizing that his extra effort was not enough especially in his course, Bobit decided to work in a bar as a singer and guitarist receiving PHP 300.00 for five hours.
"I was a janitor in the morning, student in the afternoon until evening, and acoustic singer and guitarist from late night until dawn," Bobit proudly narrated.
"There were times when I almost gave up but I knew I will be just like everyone else in our community - tilling the land until the end of time just to survive. I badly wanted to finish college so that I could offer a better life to my family," he added.
After graduation, Bobit decided to apply at DSWD with the goal of helping his fellow Ata Manobos, especially the children in his community. He wanted them to value education and to inspire them to pursue their own dreams.
Since then, Bobit has influenced many children in his area of responsibility. He also supports his relatives who are in school so that they would also succeed in their different endeavors.
MCCT-IP caters to families belonging to the Indigenous Peoples living in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA).
"I hope this MCCT-IP program will continue so that indigenous peoples in the Philippines would still have a chance to change and improve their lives through giving importance to education and health," Bobit urged.
Poverty will always be, yet people who persist will always triumph, he said. And Bobit lives by this quote.
Pantawid Pamilya has been helping 233,864 families in Davao Region attain their dreams and gain better opportunities. The program is also assisting 29,884 IP beneficiaries thru MCCT-IP.
Source: Philippines News Agency