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A house to call their own

Concepcion always dreams of having a house to call their own.

Kanang nindot nga balay nga naay kaugalingon C.R., kuryente ug tubig (A nice house with comfort room, electricity and water),” said Concepcion Abadejas when she was asked to describe her own dream house.

Concepcion sells flowers and candles in Carreta Cemetery in Cebu City.

Lisud kaayo didto sa sementeryo magpuyo kay labi na nga aduna kami duha ka anak og magsige sila kasakit didto (It is quite difficult to live in a cemetery because we have two children and they always get sick there),” added Concepcion.

At 17, she already lived in the house of her partner in Carreta Cemetery. It is a public cemetery of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral located along M.J. Cuenco Avenue and Gorordo Avenue in Cebu City. “Didto ko nakipuyo sa balay nila Rudy hangtud nanganak ko sa among duha ka anak (I lived in the house of Rudy until I gave birth to our two children),” Concepcion said.

Her partner, Rudy Abadejas, had to stop studying from high school to work and to provide the needs of his family.

To meet the needs of their growing family, Rudy works as a lapida or tombstone maker while Concepcion sells flowers and candles near the cemetery.

Concepcion also shared that early in their marriage they had no stable income, “Usa mi ka grupo sa una ug kung adunay lubong diri sa sementeryo mosunod mi og modalit sa among serbisyo sa pamilya sama sa paglimpyo (We had a group before and if there is a burial we follow them and offer our services like cleaning to the family),” added Concepcion. They were usually paid Php 200.00 and divide it among themselves.

In 2015, they become part of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The MCCT covers poor families who were not included in the regular Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). It provides assistance to homeless street families, families in need of special protection and indigenous families, which are not limited to education and health grants, but also include safe and responsive housing assistance with access to social services and economic opportunities for the improvement of their living conditions.

By 2016, the Abadejas family availed of the house rental subsidy from MCCT.

Pinaagi sa MCCT nakabalhin ug nakapangabang gyud mi og kapuy-an kay ni-ingun naman to ang doctor nga dili maayu sa sakit ang among mga anak kung magpadayun pami didto sa sementeryo (Through MCCT, we transferred and rented a house because the doctor told us that our children will never heal if we continue living in the cemetery),” said Concepcion. The Abadejas family initially rented a house in North Reclamation Area in Cebu City.

By August 2018, they transferred to a low-cost housing unit in Saint Arnold Janssen Village in Brgy. Soong, Lapu-Lapu City.

“Rudy and I are both happy because we now transferred here and I can proudly say that this is our own house,” said Concepcion in dialect.

The rent-to-own scheme housing unit is payable for 25 years and through the remaining MCCT house rental subsidy, the Abadejas is already secured for the first 20 months of stay.

Concepcion said that they will work hard in order to sustain the succeeding years of stay in Saint Arnold Janssen Village.

Through the MCCT, Concepcion also received a Support Services Intervention (SSI) worth Php 10,000.00. The SSI component of MCCT aims to provide additional assistance to improve their current living condition.

Nakatabang pud kini aron makapadayun ko pagpaninda og buwak ug kandila (This help for me to continue selling flowers and candles),” said Concepcion.

The Abadejas family takes a pose in their new house in Saint Arnold Janssen Village.

After nine years of living together, Rudy and Concepcion also availed the Mass Wedding last October 2016 sponsored by the Cebu City Government. At present, the eldest child Rudnie, 8 years old, is a Grade 2 pupil in Hipodromo Elementary School while the second child Precious, 4 years old, is a Day Care child in Saint Arnold Janssen Village Day Care Center.

Rudy and Concepcion promised to their kids that they will be good parents to them.

“I regretted of not finishing my studies but I did not regret of becoming a mother to Rudnie and Precious,” Concepcion assured to become a responsible parent.

For now, Rudy and Concepcion plans to improve their house by having a second floor.

“I have many plans for our new house but I am now happy that we have our own comfort room, electricity and water,” said Concepcion. ###

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