“Sama-sama responsibilidad” is the battle cry of the Taguig Grand Council. It sums up the philosophy of the vibrant group, both in their relationship with TSPI and with each other. And judging by their outputs – a slew of projects that have touched countless lives – it is working beautifully.

When the current crop of officers assumed office in 2004, they were faced with coffers that wasn’t only empty; it was in the red by P98,000. On their first year, however, they were able to pay it off. How?

Sama-sama responsibilidad,” says Marian Altavano, the Grand Council President and TSPI client since 2003. “It’s a mix of discipline, empowering women, seeking God’s guidance, and a willingness to help. Most of all, kailangan ng puso (You need to have the heart for it.).”

The Grand Council, which represents TSPI’s 3,000 clients in 10 clusters in Taguig City, collects an annual fee of P20 from members. From this fund, they launch projects ranging from mass weddings and mortuary funds, to Christmas parties, out-of-town trips, and a scholarship program.

The core of their objectives as a group – a sense of solidarity rather than an individualist mentality – is aligned with and inspired by TSPI’s own philosophy. “You’re on your own sa iba,” says Eden Dalumpines, the Grand Council’s Secretary and TSPI client since 1999. “Yung mga taong ayaw sa grouping, hindi sila pwede rito (With others, you’re on your own. Those who dislike being in a group will not like it here).”

This is why some of the group’s projects are geared towards socialization, which they consider as important in building camaraderie. In 2005, they took a leisurely trip to Lemery, Batangas in busloads. In 2009, their destination was Subic. They also hold Christmas parties every year.

But they always put civic duties ahead of everything else. This includes relief operations for typhoon and fire victims, leadership trainings and livelihood seminars, and a scholarship for 20 grade school pupils. In 2006, they held a mass wedding for 27 pairs, an event that was recognized by the City Government of Taguig. More youth programs, including a child learning center and a medical mission, are in the pipeline.

Aside from shared responsibilities, Nay Eden also credits positive thinking and ethics for the seamless way that the group operates. “How do we do it? We focus on solutions. We don’t dwell on problems. We get feedback from members. We’re transparent with our transactions. And any concerns that are not resolved in the cluster level are elevated to Grand Council level,” she explains.

The group is quite resourceful, too. To raise funds for their scholars, they started “Edad Ko, Alay Ko” in 2007, where members were encouraged to donate an amount equivalent to their age. Today, four of their original 20 scholars are two years away from finishing grade school, and the group is thinking of extending the support to high school.

The results-oriented mentality mirrors TSPI’s philosophy of being hands-on. “Hindi lang sa financing natatapos ang relationship with clients. May insurance, may savings. And they see to it that the business is erected and operating as planned (TSPI’s relationship with clients does not end with mere financing.),” says Nay Remedios Dy, Grand Council Treasurer.  She points to Nay Marian for inspiration.

“Dati nakatira ako sa ibaba ng opisina ng TSPI, nagluluto (I used to live below TSPI’s office, cooking),” shares Nay Marian. “I wanted to have money for business. They asked me, ‘Are you willing to help?’ I said ‘yes’.” Today, she is one of the managers for Keziah Marketing, a direct selling company for home products.

Nay Marian’s story, and that of the members of the Grand Council, mirrors a hundred more. And with “sama-sama responsibilidad” as their source of strength, they are never alone.

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