Thursday, June 23, 2011

Social Work Week celebrations: Keeping up with the Tradition

The previous blog highlights the role of social workers from Western Visayas in the national celebration of the Social Work Week in the Philippines every June 13-19. Likewise, it mentions the tradition set by Ilonggo social workers in the history of the social work profession. Started by Josefa Jara Martinez, the first and foremost among Filipino social work pioneer, more contributions have been done. Martinez was joined by Carmen Montinola-Luz and Felicidad A. De Silva in the list of seven pioneers that formed the first association of social workers in the Philippines, the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. (PASWI). The social worker-senator who authored the RA 4373, Dr. Maria Kalaw- Katigbak, reportedly traced her roots from Molo, Iloilo City. Since then, social workers in Western Visayas follow the tradition of leadership and excellence.

While the list is still incomplete, this is a good start of historical record to remind the succeeding generations of our tradition. This may even encourage social workers from other regions to trace the historical contributions of respective pioneers.In 2000, history seems to repeat itself when three members of the elected PASWI National Board came from Western Visayas, namely: Atty. Dolores Nalumen, Sr. Sandra Alejo and the blog’s author. Atty. Nalumen was even elected as president. After our term, another three followed, namely: Mr. Rubin Magno, Miss Mary June Quanico and Sr. Enriqueta L. Legaste. They were succeeded by Prof. Feli Sustento, Mrs. Lulu Magbanua and Mrs. Lucita Villanueva.

The tradition of excellence is manifested in the initial list of national awardees from social workers in Western Visayas. The fate of Josefa Jara Martinez was duplicated by Sr. Teresa Mabasa in 2000 when she was awarded as Outstanding Professional in the Field of Social Work by the Professional Regulation Commission. Sr. Mabasa served as first president of PASWI-Iloilo. Five Ilonggos are recipients of the PASWI Ten Outstanding Social Workers in the Philippines Award, namely Mr. Victor Salmon in 1998; Mrs. Herminigilda Duarte in 2000; yours truly in 2004; Mrs. Adela Talamor in 2008; and Mrs. Nina Joy Tanada, in 2010. Mr. Lazaro Petinglay was adjudged as the 2001 Most Outstanding DSWD Rehabilitation Workers in the Philippines by the Department of Justice while Dr. Neneth Pador was awarded Outstanding Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer in 2008 by the Association of Local Social Welfare and Development Officers of the Phil., Inc. (ALSWDOPI).

Other national awardees from the region are Prof. Irene Ortigas, finalist for the Bayaning Pilipino- National Level in 1999 having garnered the Regional Award for Individual Category. Prof. Ortigas is the pioneer of the Department of Social Work, Central Philippine University. Her successor head of the Department, Prof. Ruth C. Corvera was also adjudged Top 5 Finalists in the Ramon Aboitiz Award for Exemplary Individual during the 2nd RAFI Triennial Awards for the Visayas and Mindanao in 2002.

(to be continued)

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