“I was so young when I was exposed to the misdeed of my father. I was also in grade school, when I was forced to look for food for my siblings,” the 21-year-old lad recalled all his hardships and struggles. In a small house in Barangay Cogon, Palo, Romar grew up with his parents and five younger siblings.
Since he was in grade school, Romar always wanted to be a policeman, “When I was young, I want to be a policeman so I can arrest my father who was then into illegal drugs and has many vices.”
“Because my mom was away working in Manila, my two younger siblings were left in the care of nuns in the convent and I was left with my Father,” Romar openly shared. He even said during the conversation that because his father cannot leave him alone in the house, his father even brought him at a nightclub.
More Rough Roads
When his father’s vices became grave, he stopped providing for the needs of his family. Thus, his children’s ability to go to school was seriously affected. To make things more complicated, their mother was hospitalized and was not able to move for months and therefore cannot do her laundry job.
As the eldest, Romar decided not to pursue college after graduating from high school. He started working, at the age of 16, as a construction worker, porter, sales boy, and waiter, one after another to help sustain their needs.
When his mother was able to recover from her illness, she married another man who helped Romar continue his studies. “I am grateful for my stepfather who cares and provides for us even if he is not our real father,” he continued.
One more step to his dreams
Romar got a scholarship from one of the schools in Tacloban so he continued his studies. In return, Romar then worked as a school guard whenever he has no classes. His everyday allowance for food and transportation is just about PhP25 (USD 0.49)
“When I got the scholarship, I told myself that my only problem is my everyday allowance. It was really hard to budget all the miscellaneous fees when all I have is only 25 pesos every day,” Romar said.
Then came Operation Blessing Philippines in their place for the Typhoon Yolanda relief efforts. Through a local church partner who knew the situation of Romar, he was referred to the organization.
Today, Romar is now in 4th year college. From being a school guard, he is now a student assistant in the schools’ Office of the President. Now, he receives school allowance from Operation Blessing.
“I have already forgiven my father but I will still pursue being a policeman after graduating this year. And I am not ashamed to share this because I want other young people to be encouraged with my story,” said Romar when asked about his father, who is now inside the jail for non-bailable offenses.
“I never really dreamt of being rich, I just want to change the situation of my family. I just want to help my family,” Romar ended.