Posted on 15 April 2016.
Alejandro Balgua as he poses for a souvenir photo of his hard work, during their graduation pictorial.
“As expected hindi ko na iniisip na makakapag-aral dahil si Kuya ay hindi naman na rin nakatungtong ng kolehiyo (As expected I am not thinking that I can still pursue higher education for my elder brother was not able to),” narrated Alejandro Balgua III, 20, from Surgui 2nd Camiling, Tarlac, a Students’ Grant-in-aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (SGPPA) in Tarlac College of Agriculture, Malacampa, Camiling, Tarlac, as he reminisced their living condition before Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino came in to their life.
Alejandro is the second child among the three (3) children of Mrs. Marites Balgua, housewife, and Mr. Alejandro Balgua, Jr., carpenter.
Though, his parents always told them to study hard until they had the chance to. Alejandro III then graduated high school with the highest honor; he was the class valedictorian. He was given a scholarship then, which he eventually loses in his 2nd year in college.
“Dati ang dami kong iniisip. Kung may baon pa ba ako bukas, kung anong kakainin namin. Naapektuhan ang pag-aaral ko (Before, I had so much troubles in my mind. If I still have allowance for tomorrow, if what we are going to eat. My studies are being affected),” said Alejandro III.
He even experienced being a slave to his friends by doing their home works, projects, and even carrying their bags so that they will give him extra money that he can use for school and meal expenses. Money borrower became his branding, to classmates and neighbors.
He also worked as tutor of general knowledge for children, and walk 400-500 meters to get home, instead of choosing to ride on a tricycle, for there is no money more left in his pocket every afternoon. He then runs out of time and vigor to study at home.
“Minsan iniisip ko bakit kaya ganito ang buhay namin. Pero naniniwala naman akong may purpose si God at hindi niya kami pababayaan. Kaya naman ng masali kami sa Pantawid, at lalo nang makuha ako sa SGPPA ay napakalaking ginhawa. Mas nakapag-concentrate na ako sa aking pag-aaral ng wala nang masyadong iniisip (Sometimes I have been thinking why our life was like this. But I believe that God has his purpose and that he will take care of us. That is why us being a member of Pantawid, and most especially me becoming beneficiary of SGGPA was a relief. I got to concentrate on my studies),” shared Alejandro III, as his voice breaks.
He is now to finish his bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education major in Technology and Livelihood Education (TLE) this coming today with a Latin honor—he is a Cum Laude; he is also a candidate of being the Best Practice Teacher (PT).
And as a future teacher he wished to share to his future students his philosophy in life, that is, poverty is not the hindrance to success and that one can reach his/her dream through the ladder of perseverance.
His dream now is to send his siblings to tertiary school, and then establish a business where they can generate a steady income. ### (Andyleen C. Feje)