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Sammy: A Picture of a Hopeful Solo Parent

For a single father who goes out to sea to harvest crabs from traps, Sammy Talingting starts his day as early as 3 in the morning.  He has to prepare breakfast for his three children before he sends them to school so he can go out to sea.

Sammy Talingting tells his journey as a solo parent. The photo was taken at his house in Brgy. Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City.

His daily routine started since 2011 when his common-law wife, Nena (not her real name) had to leave him and his children in 2011. Nena needed to get out of Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu for security reasons and believed it was the only option left to keep her alive.

Until two years later he discovered of Nena’s pregnancy by another man. Sammy accepted that Nena has already a life of her own but both agreed to maintain communication for the sake of their children.

However complicated the responsibility of being a single parent is, Sammy decided to move forward for his children. He regained confidence when his family was identified as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) partner-beneficiary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The Talingtings are among the 6,000 4Ps partner-beneficiaries in Lapu-Lapu City. He is also leader of 31 among the 270 household-beneficiaries and became chairman of the federation of Pantawid parent leaders in Barangay Punta Engaño.

As a father, Sammy aspires for his children to have college diploma – an achievement he never had the chance to acquire because his parents did not have the capacity to support his education.

He recalls being assigned to take care of his younger siblings rather than being sent to school. His father is often out at sea to catch fish in order to make a living while his mother helps by selling the fishcatch.

Ako ma’y gihimong babaye sa among pagpuyo kay ako man ang gipabantay sa akong mga manghud (I was made to perform female related task because I was the one who took care of my younger siblings),” Sammy recalls with teary eyes.

Sammy helped his father earn a living at an early age of 9 so he can have a little money for his school needs. His parents did not allow him at first but after seeing Sammy’s determination, his father allowed him to help in fishing after school classes.

He also remembers coming home from school with only about a square-inch of scorched rice at times when rough seas made fishing impossible. With teary eyes he recalls he would ask himself “Ngano man kinahanglan nga mahitabo kini sa amo?” (Why is this happening to us?).

This is the kind of situation he did not want to happen to his children. He was bent on seeing to it that there are three square meals on the table every day.

Growing Needs

Because harvest of marine resources is a seasonal means of livelihood being influenced by weather condition, Sammy has to find other sources of income. He has to explore his artistry and creativity by getting part-time work in shells craft production to make both ends meet.

There was not just enough time for Sammy. Because aside from earning a living and doing the household chores, there is still the need to fill-in for the responsibility and loving care of that of a mother.

Aside from his three children, Sam Justin (Grade 11), Sev Adrian (Grade 9) and Schwarts Crist (Grade 7), Sammy still has to take care of his aging parents who lives near his house and have become dependent on the support he and his siblings could give.

Life became tougher as the needs of his children increased. Resourceful as he is, he is confident that his children will not starve. More than just having food, he wanted a better life for his children – a life better than what he had.

He saw a glimmer of hope about having a better education for his children when he started receiving the cash grant from DSWD’s 4Ps in 2011. He found an ally in the program in achieving his aspirations for his children’s future.

Not only did it boost his dreams for his children’s education but it also fuelled his passion for community involvement. He becomes a confidante of his fellow 4Ps beneficiaries and all of them look up to him as their parent leader. He is also active as a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) officer and finds time in various school activities like school feeding, gardening and cleaning during Brigada Eskwela.

Ang 4Ps dili lang kini nakatabang sa pagpa-eskwela sa among mga anak, nakatabang pud kini nga madugangan ang among kaalam pinaagi sa Family Development Session (FDS) (The 4Ps did not only help in children’s education but also in adding knowledge to the parents through the FDS),” underscored Sammy.

Dako gyud ang natabang sa Pantawid sa among pamilya labi na sa pagpaeskwela sa akong mga anak mao nga gihatag naku ang akong serbisyo ug oras sa uban (Pantawid greatly helped our family especially in sending my children to school that is why I devoted my service and time to others),” said Sammy. ###

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