Sendong survivor is incoming freshman of UP Diliman
Sendong survivor is incoming freshman of UP Diliman
Rene Jr vows to not let challenges get in the way of his dreams

(This is a press release from the Department of Social Welfare and Development)

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Rene Liboon Principe, Jr. and his family almost drowned to death when Tropical Storm Sendong inundated Northern Mindanao on December 16, 2011.

The Principe family was among the hundreds of families affected by the flash flood brought about by heavy rains caused by Sendong.

In the middle of the night, his father woke the whole family up as water rushed inside their house which is located just along the city’s main river. The Principe family watched the flood destroy their home and leave their village in knee-deep mud. 

With nowhere else to go, the family rushed to an evacuation center established by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) some 5 kilometers away from their house.

Rene Jr. recalled that life inside the evacuation center was hard – they lived in a cramped space, their beds are anything but comfortable, and most of all, the queue for food and non-food supplies were usually long. 

Despite all the challenges that faced their way after Sendong, Rene Jr. was determined not to give up on his dream to become an astronaut.

Almost 4 years after that fateful night, Rene Jr. is now all set to study BS Physics at the University of the Philippines – a big leap towards achieving his lifelong dream. 

Pantawid Pamilya cash grants and other interventions from DSWD and other local and international humanitarian organizations helped Rene and his family return to normalcy. Through the scholarship provided by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), he was also able to finish high school without putting strain on his family’s tight budget. 

His hard work paid off on April 2015 when he graduated as the top of his batch. In UP, Rene Jr. will continue to be a scholar of DOST. 

“Nagpapasalamat ako sa DSWD sa pagtulong sa mga mahihirap na kagaya namin.  Natugunan namin ang mga pangangailangan ko sa paaralan lalo na ‘yung mga laboratory requirements dahil sa Pantawid Pamilya, ”  Rene Jr. said.

(I would like to thank DSWD for helping poor families like us. I was able to comply with all the projects and buy laboratory requirements because of Pantawid Pamilya),

Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program that invests in the health and education of poor families, primarily those with children aged 0-18. It provides cash grants to partner-beneficiaries who comply with the conditions of sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers for checkups, and attending the monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS). – 


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