Soon after her graduation from high school, Gene Rose (24) left home to find work in Rizal province in Luzon in the northern part of the Philippines. There she ended up as a storekeeper for a nice family with whom she stayed for four years. Then she went back home to Negros island. Soon after, not wanting to remain jobless, she went to Valladolid, six towns away from home, to work in a hardware shop.
In Valladolid, she got to know Raffy who became her boyfriend as well as the father of her child. When she was three months pregnant, she decided to go home to her parents in Cauayan. It took her a month to muster enough courage to tell them that she was pregnant. Raffy was summoned to Cauayan by her parents, Ambrosio and Nenita and he promptly came. They told him to come back with his own parents so that they could discuss wedding plans. Raffy said yes, but at the same time, asked Gene Rose’s parents if he could bring Gene Rose to Valladolid with him. Her parents did not consent and so he went home disappointed. Many months passed but Raffy never came back. When the time came for Gene Rose to give birth, she tried to contact Raffy one more time. When he did not reply, she took that as a sign that he was no longer interested. She changed her mobile phone number in order to close that unpleasant chapter of her life.
Gene Rose and her son Kieth, now 14 months old, live with Gene Rose’s parents in an old bamboo house in Caliling in Cauayan province. Ambrosio, her father, is a sugarcane plantation worker and her mother Nenita, her mother is a housekeeper and an occasional salt vendor. As for Gene Rose, she is the caretaker of a house in the town centre of Cauayan. Once a week she goes there to clean the house and its premises and she receives a salary of 2,000 pesos ($44) a month for doing so. This income is just enough to meet her son’s needs and the purchase of some daily essentials at home.
Gene Rose would like to contribute to the family income by selling salt. She does not have the capital to engage in this business and so has applied for a loan of 5,000 pesos from the PSHF. This is a good time to buy salt because the salt makers in the village still have stocks to sell. Presently a 50-kilogram sack of salt costs 220 pesos; next month, it will likely go up to 260 or 300 pesos as the supply decreases. Gene Rose’s loan will enable her to buy 22 sacks of salt. She will sell her salt in the outlying communities of Calaogao on village market days and hopes to sell three sacks per week, thereby making a net income of 700 pesos ($15) per week. This will make for a big improvement in the family income and will enable Gene Rose to help buy food for her parents as well as start saving money to buy roofing materials to have her parents’ leaking roof replaced.
Bernadette G. Togado
PSHF Negros Occidental-South