CALUYA, Antique – Do you still remember ESGP-PA grantee Jomalyn Lucena of Caluya Island in Antique who graduated magna cum laude in 2016 after several years of being a househelp?
She is now working as job order at the Department of Agriculture in Caluya.
Just the other day, Jomalyn was one of the speakers during the graduation of 28 exiting Pantawid beneficiaries in their town.
Although, Jomalyn’s family is not yet graduating this year since she has still a younger sister who is being monitored by the program.
In her speech, she is thankful for all the opportunities given to her family as one of the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) way back in 2012, the same year that she was chosen to be one of the grantees of the Extended Student Grant-In-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) under the partnership of the Department and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
In 2016, Jomalyn’s struggles for four years has finally paid off when she graduated magna cum laude at West Visayas State University (WVSU) Calinog campus in Iloilo province and became a licensed agriculturist after passing the board examination in the following years.
After getting the job, Jomalyn has requested her two other sisters to stop working as househelps so that they could continue their schooling, too.
Jomalyn’s ambition did not end there. She keeps on chasing her dream to become a regular employee someday so that she could provide a new home for her family.
“Being a 4Ps beneficiary opened more opportunities to us. We could not just get what we want in just a glimpse of an eye but we just add a little patience and perseverance to make them into reality. I am now on my way,” she said.
Poverty has pushed her to stop schooling after she graduated from high school to give way to her other siblings to be enrolled in elementary.
Being the eldest daughter among the eight siblings, Jomalyn said her heart has been torn into pieces many times when she saw her sisters and brothers eating root crops from breakfast to dinner or even eating rice once a day only.
Taking responsibility for helping her parents, Jomalyn decided to work as a stay-in nanny in one of her mother’s friends and earned P 2,500 monthly just enough to buy some of their monthly needs.
She has been working for almost two years until such time that their family was included in the 4Ps where she got a chance to avail of the ESGP-PA.
In the same year, her mother was luckily employed as a barangay utility worker while her father has been working as a laborer.
At first, she wanted to take up a Bachelor of Science in Accounting but it was not included in the priority curricular programs of the Commission on Education (CHED). Instead, she has chosen to enroll in the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA) just to finish college.
However, Jomalyn has to leave her family in exchange for the scholarship at WVSU. Her two other younger sisters, one has already graduated from high school while the other one is still in college, also offered to help by providing her school needs. Both of her sisters worked as housekeepers.
Since Caluya is the farthest town in Antique just near Mindoro or Region 4-B, it takes four hours for Jomalyn to travel before reaching the mainland of Libertad, Antique, and another two hours of land travel before reaching Kalibo, Aklan where she would take another seven hours of travel going to Calinog, Iloilo.
This is the reason why Jomalyn seldom went home and just spent her time reading and studying her lesson inside her small rented room.
Jomalyn had good grades as she graduated magna cum laude on March 30, 2016.
Jomalyn is one of the first batch of 207 ESGP-PA scholars who graduated from the different state universities in the region. She topped among 92 graduates of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Forestry./dswd6/with reports from IP Focal Carl Myson Dulla