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Education is key to success for this former SPES baby


Patrolwoman Christine Castañeda Mejia’s story would be an inspiration to anyone who strives to achieve their dreams. 

Getting to her present position was an uphill climb, what with all the stumbling blocks she hurdled along her way. 

The 29-year-old former Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) baby from Binmaley, Pangasinan was born to poor parents.  Her father is a carpenter, while her mother is a housewife.  She has eight other brothers and sisters. 

As a student, she had to take every difficulty in stride.  She recalled that at one point, she had to stop her studies to work as kasambahay and bakery assistant to help her family with its financial problems.  Other times, she would scavenge and sell junk to augment her income. 

But intent on earning a degree and landing a higher paying job, Christine explored every possible option to be able to pursue her education. 

She was able to qualify for scholarship from the provincial government of Pangasinan.  The scholarship served to cover her school fees.  At the same time, she did their neighbor’s laundry to earn for her allowance. 

One day, a relative who works at the local government unit of Binmaley informed her about the SPES.  Luckily, she became a SPES worker at the Office of the Mayor from 2013 to 2015.  Her tasks included working in different barangays within the municipality.  Her earnings from SPES were used to buy school supplies and for her allowance. 

“For a cash-strapped family like ours, the financial assistance from the SPES was a big help. Also, the actual work exposure it gives boosted my self-confidence,” she said. 

In 2015, Christine graduated from the Pangasinan State University-Binmaley Campus with the degree Bachelor of Science in Criminology. 

She took and passed the Criminologist Licensure Examination.  She promised to herself that she will pass the examination on first take because she cannot afford to take it twice. 

After obtaining her license, she applied and landed as Patrolwoman at the Philippine National Police.  At present, she is assigned as Assistant Operations Officer at the Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) of the Binmaley Police Station. 

“Education is the one thing you should always strive to have. I am indeed grateful that the SPES serves to give it to the youth because education is a ticket to a better future,” she said. 

Now, Christine’s family owns a furniture shop – a small business they were able to put up together through their hard work. 

“I hope to inspire the young people through my story,” Christine ended. END/Arly Sta. Ana-Valdez with report from Dennis Soriano, DOLE-WPFO 

RD Nat V. Lacambra
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