In the serene Barangay Looc, Santander, Cebu, Veronica Juguilon’s story is about resilience and leadership. At 56, Veronica, who suffered a spine-deforming injury at age two, stands as a pillar of strength in her community. As the President of the PWD Organization of Barangay Looc, she is dedicated to advocating for persons with disabilities (PWDs), championing their rights, and helping them overcome daily challenges.

Veronica Juguilon, President of the PWD Organization of Brgy Looc fulfilled after receiving the financial assistance from the Cash-for-Work Program for PWDs.

Veronica’s life took a significant turn when she became a beneficiary of the Cash for Work program, an initiative of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS), with the support of the Municipality of Santander. More than the short-term intervention of cash transfer, it also comes with a temporary employment aspect engaging them in community work, service or task for PWDs (if unable, their able guardian or family member) empowering them to not just be passive recipients of assistance and services but as partners in development.

Veronica dedicated two hours daily to assisting with PWD affairs in her barangay for ten days. On July 4, 2024, she received her cash assistance, alongside 155 other beneficiaries, at the Pastoral Parish Church Kiosk. Her earnings, 480.00 PHP per day, totaling 4,800.00 PHP, were used to buy rice, hypertension medicine for her husband, and feed for their pigs, which they plan to sell for additional income.

Veronica’s husband, who also has a disability due to polio, met her at the Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center II (AVRC) in Labangon, Cebu, where she learned dressmaking. Despite their physical limitations, they have built a life together, raising children and supporting each other. Veronica works as a dressmaker, creating uniforms for kids, and through her modest livelihood, she has helped her children finish college. One child is now a seaman, and another is preparing for midwifery board exams. Their children also provide some financial support, easing the family’s burdens.

As the president of the PWD Organization of Barangay Looc, Veronica hears firsthand accounts of the discrimination PWDs face in the workplace, making it difficult for them to find decent jobs. Many members of her organization emphasize the necessity of financial assistance, as they face greater employment challenges compared to others. Despite these obstacles, Veronica remains deeply grateful to the DSWD and the Municipality of Santander for creating opportunities for PWDs to work, be productive, and earn money.

Veronica is inspired to see many PWDs working in the Municipal Hall, breaking down barriers and changing perceptions. She dreams of a future where she can play an instrumental role in alleviating poverty among PWDs in her barangay, especially those who are poor and alone. Her leadership and advocacy efforts aim to create a more inclusive community where everyone, regardless of physical limitations, can thrive.

Her story underscores the transformative power of community support and the government’s inclusive programs and services like Cash for Work and the AVRC. Veronica Juguilon’s journey is a testament to perseverance, hope, and the impact of giving individuals the opportunity to contribute to society. Her dedication to her community paves the way for a brighter and more inclusive future for PWDs like her. ###

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