Five family-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in Asingan, Pangasinan recently opened a Pantawid Pamilya Spa and Massage Center through the assistance of the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
They are now among the 681,030 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries nationwide who have been provided with skills training and capital assistance through SLP.
Pantawid Pamilya families are priority beneficiaries of SLP to give them the opportunity to start their own livelihood projects where they can earn to complement their cash grants.
Pantawid Pamilya is human development program that invests in the health and education of poor families, primarily those with children aged 0-18. It provides monthly cash grants to beneficiaries who comply with the conditions of sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers, and attending the Family Development Sessions.
In partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the families received a National Certificate II on Hilot (Wellness Massage).
This paved the way for the opening of the Pantawid Pamilya Spa and Massage business by the Asingan Hilot Wellness Massage SLP Association.
Genalyn Templo, treasurer of the livelihood association, said that the project is also in partnership with the Local Government of Asingan which gave counterpart funding assistance, as well as provided a room with four beds located at the town proper, facilitated free Municipal Permit. The LGU also extends continuous technical assistance for the massage center.
Genalyn, who used to be a plain housewife, shared that she is now earning around P700 to P900 per day from her regular clients at the massage center. Her present earnings are a far cry from what she used to earn from selling native delicacies around their village.
Genalyn’s husband, Jimmy, who was also trained on massage therapy does part time work as a masseur with six regular clients.
The Templo family is now earning an average of P5,000 a week which is enough to sustain their daily needs and the school needs of their two children. In addition, Genalyn said she now has a personal savings of P20,000.00 as a result of the project.
Carlo Gaco, president of the association, said that they adopted the 75-25% sharing of income, with 75% of the massage fees for the masseur and 25% for the association.
This means that for one client, the share for the member is P225 and P75 for the association, which resulted to their group’s accumulated savings of P13,500 as of July 2015.
For Carlo, his earnings as a masseur is a big add on to his income as a tricycle driver.
The other three members, who used to sell native delicacies around their village, also recognized that their income from being massage therapists and from their group savings are a big help to them.
The five families are just among those grateful for becoming Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries. They said the program is a blessing for them, empowering them to become productive members of their community.
And through the skills they learnt from the SLP, a better future is now within their grasp.
DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said, “The stories of the Templo and Gaco families reinforce the fact that these families only need a little help from government to make them productive members of our society. Pinakita nila na sa kaunting tulong, kahit na mga mahihirap, kaya nilang baguhin ang kanilang buhay, at pagandahin ang kalagayan ng kanilang pamilya (These families showed us that with the right help, even the poor have the capacity to change and improve their families’ lives).”