Full Name : BEATRIZ GUAÑO
Gender : Female
Date of Birth : November 23, 1944
Age : 67
Name of City : Caloocan City
Country : Philippines
Language : Filipino
Language used in video : Filipino
My mother was pregnant with me when my family moved to Romblon in 1944 during World War II to escape from the cruelty of the Japanese soldiers. Fighting continued until Japan's formal surrender on September 2, 1945. The Philippines had suffered great loss of life and tremendous physical destruction by the time the war was over. An estimated 1 million Filipinos had been killed; a large proportion during the final months of the war, and Manila was extensively damaged. I am almost a year old when my family has decided to move back to Caloocan City (a city part of Metro Manila) in 1945.
I did not finish my study because I came from a poor family. I have only attained grade six level in elementary. Life has been very difficult for us.
I have been lucky to find a job to help support my family financially. I met my soon to be husband and was formally introduced to me by my older brother. His name was Martin and we became friends. He was working as a gasoline boy then and as a thoughtful young man he has visited me always in my workplace and we eat lunch together. The factory that I am working with is very near the gasoline station where he works. Our friendship has gone to a deeper relationship.
In February 1966, I was 22 then, Martin and I decided to get married. We have been blessed with seven children. Though we were experiencing hardships in life, we still managed to live happily. My husband has finished his employment contract in the gasoline station. He was fortunate enough to get another job as a factory worker making rain boots. As a wife, aside from attending to daily household chores and keeping our children, I helped my husband in selling lottery tickets for us to have extra income to raise our children and to have a sustainable living.
In 1977, at the age two, my fourth child has passed away due to wrong diagnosis of sickness. She was given medications for poliomyelitis (polio) and not knowing that she was actually having inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord known as meningitis. If the doctors have had diagnosed my daughter with meningitis, she should had lived longer. This was really a very painful experience for both of us. I almost lost my mind because I love my children so much and they served an inspiration for both of us.
Life must go on and we have to move on. We continue to sell lottery tickets because this was a big help for my family. We became fortunate when a sold ticket won the lottery. We have got a commission from the pot money and we were able to buy a house and lot. My two children have finished their studies and earned a degree. My other two children have graduated high school. We also have a special child. This was an unforgettable experience for all of us.
As time passed by, my husband became sickly as he aged. Selling lottery tickets was no longer easy for us. The sale of the tickets has slowly weakened. During these times, my sister was a member of elderly association in Sangandaan and she has invited me to attend meetings regularly until I decided to join the group in 1998.
2006 was really a terrifying year for me. In July, my son, who is married, has died from an accident. This was really painful to a mother like me who had lost a son. While recovering from pains, in two months’ time, September 2006, my husband had died from a heart attack. I've been feeling pretty down in the dumps that day. He’s a very supportive father to my family and now I am left alone.
The demise of my husband had changed my world differently. It took me more than two years to recover from all the pains. I have to make myself busy all the time to forget everything. I put part of my time to actively participate in the activities of elderly association in my place apart from maintaining a mini-store to sustain our daily needs.
I am thankful that I have become member of the association. It gives me an inspiration to work with other older person. I have learned a lot from the group. I was able to attend trainings on community gerontologist and advocacy awareness about the rights of older persons in the country.
It has been a meaningful experience with me as a community gerontologist; I got the chance to visit sickly older persons to monitor their blood pressure and talked to them when needed. Older persons needed someone to talk to because most of the time they are left alone. This gives me strengths to really work hard in the service of the older people.
In 2008, all my efforts have already borne fruits. My fellow older persons in the community have nominated me for “Sampung Ulirang Nakatatanda” (Ten Outstanding Elderly). Luckily, I was chosen as one of the awardees. I am very proud of such achievement and it made me a lot more dedicated and inspired in the service of older people.
This would be my legacy to my children. I want them to learn how to be humble in whatever they do. They should also learn how to fight and stand for their right just like with what we are up to for the rights of older people. It is also necessary to love the family as well as others.
Older person like me could still do things and could still contribute to the development of the community. We need to be respected; and should be given the needed support/assistance especially for those who are abandoned by their own families. As part of the advocacy of older persons, we fought for the rights of older persons especially the social pension for the poorest elderly. RA 9994 has been implemented for a year now and I am very happy because I am one of the older persons who rallied and lobbied for the social pension to be signed into a law and I am proud of that achievement.
This year’s Age Demands Action campaign, we are pushing for the complete implementation of the law. We wanted the lead agency, the Department of Social Welfare and Development to make a credible list of pensioners qualified for the social pension. I have been hopeful that the pension would benefit the right beneficiaries.