Monday, February 20, 2017

Bohol pins hopes on Mabini 
dad as 4Ps 'model father'

TAGBILARAN CITY, February 14 (PIA)--The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Central Visayas and Boholanos are pinning its hopes to a Boholano whose feat as a multi-tasking father earned him that singular regional slot for his entry into the national search for model fathers among the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries.

Joselito "Toto" Lastimoso, the DSWD 4Ps beneficiary will represent Bohol and the entire region in the national search for Ulirang Ama or Model Father among government conditional cash transfer beneficiaries.

Toto was born in Negros Oriental, grew up in Negros Occidental and has been tested by the fires of poverty and resiliency.

Grown to the tough life as a son of a second marriage, Toto has to rely on a hard life of poverty and sacrifice which also pushed him to survive high school and a stint in Manila as a caregiver, night school student and a vocational course plus a culinary arts training to fend off for himself.

And then he met Lucia, a Boholana who enamored him so much it would prove a prodigious plan for his life.

But living in Manila as a young couple proved to be too harsh for them, the Lastimoso's decided to resettle in Mabini Bohol where Lucia's family lives.

Toto eventually found a chef slot at a Panglao resort and then a few restaurants, but with kitchen work still keeping him from his family, he decided to finally stop and work selling home cooking in Mabini instead.

At 19, Toto started working as a cook and then a chef, rising from fastfood restaurant backroom operations to established restaurants, he would have no problem with the decision. This proved to be an ace on his sleeves, as he and Lucia along with three kids start off a life in a remote nook in Bohol.

His three kids: Mark Julius David, 15; John Denver, 12 and Kenshen 9, also stayed with them in Lungsodaan in 2008, and for city kids, living in Lungsodaan was never that easy, Lastimoso admitted.

But, given the warmth and the hospitality that Boholanos accord to strangers, a Negrense was not spared.

Even if I am just an adopted son of the barangay, I felt so much love, I was accepted, loved, respected and it was such a pleasure to be called a son here, Lastimoso confessed.

The warm community reception, he reciprocated by being a good husband, father, neighbor and in-law. His being a dedicated family man and his principles pushed people to get appointed as barangay treasurer in 2012.

"...their trust and confidence, I could hardly believe they entrusted to me, a stranger, their money," he said.

By 2013, he banked on the trust and ran as barangay councilor where he won easily.

But this man whose psyche is so built to the resilience of and the love of country soon got him into another commitment: to head the Barangay Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council Action Officers of the town.

Concurrent to the demanding tasks of the DRM networks, he also got the post as president of the Association of Mabini Barangay Treasurers Community Cooperative.

In the same year, with kids in the public schools, he was also elected to the seat as Parents Teachers Association President from 2013 to 2015 capping it with the distinction as the among the Top Performing PTA presidents of the school.

Apparently still having an ounce of service left, Toto could not sideline his thanksgiving to God for his life, his family, the resilient resolve and his strong faith, he served the church as lay minister for Saint Michael Parish, a position he keeps until now.

Asked why that much commitments, he answered: God has been good, so why cant I?

A 4Ps beneficiary, and an incurable optimist, Lastimoso said they may get a small financial aid, but the bigger thing is the lessons they get from the 4Ps Family Development Sessions.

We were taught, guided and given lessons in strengthening family ties, getting chances in a livelihood of choice as well as inputs on how and what to change to achieve a good future, he cited.

"I think 4ps is truly a bridge that bridges the gap between poverty and progress, to change the old ways, reduce poverty and no Filipino would ever again go hungry."

Now becoming a n authority in Barangay Disaster management and risk reduction, Lastimoso still has one more task at hand: help conduct FDS by sharing his disaster and risk management expertise.

All of these, he does for his family. And his community.

As a father of my children and the foundation of our family, I will strive to support and carry them to a good future, one that can make them independent. I will do the best I can to be a good father, he vowed.

With Toto now winning the regional slot to the national finals, he had no one else to thank but the government for giving him and his family the 4Ps as a guide to building resilient personalities. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)
Toto Lastimoso now sits as president of Mabini Barangay treasurers Community Coop President, Barangay Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council Chair and president of Municipal BDRRMC Action Officer, an awarded PTA president, a lay minister, a chef, and an FDS lecturer on disaster. He is also the region’s entry to the national search for model father among  4Ps beneficiaries. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol) 

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