If you happen to visit the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VII in Barangay Carreta, you have probably met or seen this guy in his wheelchair behind the cashier counter.
It is easy to spot on Raul Miñoza with his semi-afro styled hair either entertaining clients at the counter or making calls to inform suppliers that their cheques are ready for pick-up.
Miñoza has been with the department for 35 years. He recently received a DSWD-7 loyalty award and a gold necklace during the agency’s 66th anniversary celebration that was personally handed by Sec. Judy Taguiwalo.
A father of four, Miñoza was instrumental in the construction of DSWD-7’s ramp and universal comfort rooms.
“I am thankful to DSWD-7 because aside from my employment, it made sure that persons with disabilities (PWD) like me can freely move around in the office,” he said.
According to Raul, his employment in DSWD-7 is among the many blessings he has been grateful of as it paved the way for him to support his family especially in sending his children to school.
Raul’s immediate supervisor Alith Pareja, Administrative Officer V/ Cashier III describe him as a person who is focused on his job.
“His being a PWD was never an issue to us because he delivers just like his abled colleagues; he makes sure that his tasks are delivered completely like informing the supplier to get their checks and to bring official receipts,” Pareja said.
Long before he can even utter his first word, Raul has been diagnosed with polio. When he was only three months old he also got sick with bronchopneumonia that caused his asthma up to this day.
His polio has resulted in to paralysis that made it hard for him to stand and walk. However, Raul’s disability did not stop him from going to school like abled kids.
With the love and patience of his father Eusebio, who would religiously send him to school every day, Raul finished his degree in Commerce in 1981.
Eusebio, a public school teacher would send and fetch Raul in school riding his bike. He had endured it since Raul was enrolled in elementary up until his early college years.
“He never got tired of sending me to school,” a teary-eyed Raul said.
“If it was not for him, I wouldn’t be where I am right now,” Raul recalled as he reminisce every sacrifice his family especially his father did for him.
Raul shared that his father has even rejected promotions because he will be assigned far from them. “He refused because he always thought of my situation,” Raul disclosed.
Raul started riding public utility vehicles using his crutches when he was already in college as his father is also growing old.
To lessen the family’s expenses, Raul applied as a working student at the then Cebu Central Colleges now University of Cebu.
In 1976, Raul did not expect that he would soon meet the love of his life Marilyn, who worked as his nephews care giver.
Marilyn, a native of San Remigio, Cebu effortlessly got Raul’s attention without her knowing it. At first, Marilyn thought Raul’s fondness of her was because he has found a new friend.
Raul would watch as Marilyn cooks and would spend much time talking to her. Later on, Raul’s parents and siblings noticed his affection to the charming Marilyn.
“They began teasing us and would tell me that in case we fell for each other, they would support our relationship,” Marilyn shared.
“At first, I did not mind the teasing because I was only 16 at that time but as days passed by I realized I had developed a special feeling for Raul,” she added.
When they decided to get married Raul’s family supported them all the way. However, Marilyn’s mother opposed the decision.
“When my mother knew about our plan to settle down she then wanted me to travel in Mindanao. We were on our way to the port when I sneaked out and went back to Raul’s place,” Marilyn recalled feeling guilty she disobeyed her mom.
“I felt bad but I couldn’t imagine being away from Raul. I was really thinking of him while we were traveling to the port,” she said.
Marilyn admitted that her mother didn’t like Raul at first because she was scared what would their life be since he is a PWD.
However, Raul and Marilyn proved her mother wrong as they have persevere life’s challenges.
It took some time for my mother to accept us but she eventually did when she saw how Raul took care of our family despite his disability.
Marilyn also helped Raul earn a living by selling meat products.
“If I’m not around he would cook for the children, wash our clothes and clean the house,” she said.
Marilyn described his husband Raul as a deeply religious man who would not fail to attend Sunday masses. They’ve been married for 41 years now.
People would often wonder how we made it through but it is our faith that keep us strong over the years.
The couple is proud that despite their limited resources their children Roldan, Euseca, Romar and Winsor have all finished college.
Four years ago, Marilyn also acquired her driving license so that she can send and fetch Raul to and from the office through their minivan/multicab.
Raul and Marilyn are now grandparents to seven grandchildren. They also served as the guardian of John Vincent, 17, who was born with clubfoot.
His perseverance to live a normal life is an inspiration to the people around him especially to John Vincent.
Raul believes that his ability is far stronger than his disability. – CebuHeadlines.com