4Ps Beneficiary: We Owe Taxpayers for Sending Us to School, But Our Parents Also Worked

With millions of people temporarily losing their jobs and major source of income due to the COVID-19 crisis, many are beginning to question the government’s ‘preference’ in helping the poor instead of the middle class who comprise the bulk of taxpayers.

Soon, the middle class would begin to despise the low-income class, the ‘poorest of the poor’ who only receive aid from the government through the 4Ps aid they receive each month. Hating on the 4Ps beneficiaries, the middle class told them to find jobs and to stop relying on the government for aid because that aid comes from the middle class’ income taxes.

But one 4Ps beneficiary came forward to share the inspiring story of his family. Despite the aid they receive each month from the government, Jericho Ramos Baguistan shared that his parents never relied entirely on the taxpayers’ money to support the family. Instead, they found various jobs to put food on the table and send their kids to school.

Photo credit: Jericho Ramos Baguistan / Facebook

Jericho wrote on Facebook, detailing his experience:

“This is also for the members of 4Ps or other people getting some help from the government, at sa mga mahihirap na tulad namin. I read a post about sa ayudang ibinibigay ng gobyerno para sa mga mahihirap nating kababayan, some posted and questioning bakit ang unfair? It is just making those people lazier dahil puro pasarap buhay, naghihintay na lamang ng tulong, at nananatiling walang trabaho at hindi matututong magbanat ng buto.

My family is a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, hindi kami mayaman, so the financial assistance coming from the government is really a big help for our studies and some of our necessities. The help coming from the government isn’t just being spent for nothing.

In spite of the help we get, my parents never stopped working. Tatay ko ay dating tricycle driver, nagconstruction sa Manila, at ngayon nakikisaka sa bukid. Porsyentuhan lamang, may may-ari ng lupa at ilang percent lang ng ani ang para sa amin. Technically ang kita sa pagsasaka ay hindi monthly but every cropping season. So ang tendency kapag may kailangan lalo na kapag magpapasukan na, mangungutang, then mababayaran lang after ng anihan.

Ang Nanay on the other hand is a parent leader, and walang another sweldo para sa mga paper works at pagdalaw sa ibang members na madalas nilang ginagawa. We’ve been a member for how many years now. And never did the money was used by my mother to get some hair treatment or ibili ng luho. Laging para sa pag-aaral and necessary needs namin.

In fact, my mother [has] done so many works, naging tindera sa palengke, nagtanim at naggapas ng palay, nag-sibuyas atbp, at ngayon namamasukan bilang kasambahay ang Nanay ko para matulungan ang Tatay at Kuya dahil dalawa pa kaming nag-aaral ng bunso kong kapatid. Tapos given the fact that hindi mataas ang presyo ng palay, mahirap kumita ng pera pero mataas ang cost of living…mahirap maging mahirap.”

Photo credit: Jericho Ramos Baguistan / Facebook

The family strived hard to support themselves and made sure to use the government’s aid to send the kids to school. But Jericho and his brothers did not also just rely on the 4Ps aid and their parents’ jobs. Instead, they did well in school and applied to as many scholarships as they could so they can go to school – and their hard work paid off.

“Baka sabihin ng ibang mga kakilala, “Eh galing kayong private school ah?”. To tell you, If I and my siblings weren’t able to get scholarships hindi naman kami kayang pag-aralin sa private school ng mga magulang namin, we strived to get high grades. We were given full scholarsips, kaming tatlong magkakapatid sa buong taon ng High School namin. Bukod sa tulong ng eskuwelahan, lahat in-apply-an namin, scholarship ng congressman, mayor, we worked in SPES, we strived to be a scholar sa University… that’s what our parents taught us, how we should value education. Ngayon si Kuya ko graduate na, may desenteng trabaho at may propesyunal na lisensya. As for me, I am currently studying at Central Luzon State University, free tuition fee, proud scholar!

We owe the taxpayers, sa pera ng taong bayan, and to the government who spend a lot of funds para sa mga mahihirap. We are a poor family, sapat para makasurvive sa pang-araw-araw. So wala kaming choice kundi gumawa ng daan para sa oportunidad na makaahon kami sa kahirapan, kasi kung hindi kami ang gagawa, wala kaming aasahan, lalo kaming malulugmok.”

Their story inspired so many people, particularly in these times when people, particularly the middle class, think that 4Ps beneficiaries are only using the aid to have fun, to go to the salon for hair rebond, and upgrade their lifestyle by buying new cellphones.

Photo credit: Jericho Ramos Baguistan / Facebook

“Gumawa tayo ng paraan at huwag hintayin na lamang at umasa sa tulong ng ibang tao. Let us change for the better, WE SHOULD BE THE ONE MAKING OUR LIVES BETTER. Afterall, wala tayong ibang aasahan, at walang ibang may responsibilidad sa buhay natin kundi ang ating mga sarili. Malayo pa kami sa pangarap naming maginhawang buhay, pero hindi namin i-aasa ang kinabukasan at kahihinatnan ng buhay namin sa ibang tao.

Hindi kasalanan ang pagiging mahirap and poverty isn’t a choice… but it is your choice if you’ll stay poor for the rest of your life.”

Kudos, Jericho and to your family!