Last Friday, I got another call to Padayon. Yes, a call to continue the good things that we have started. This time from the former national president of the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. (PASWI). Atty. Ma. Dolores Nalumen unexpectedly visited our office at Central Philippine University and after some sort of reunion and recollections, she made a special request- my active participation in PASWI and the possibility of reviving our regional group/ fellowship in Western Visayas. I could not say no to her because of our good working relationship in the past. I succeeded her as president in our local chapter 15 years ago. We were together in the national board in 1999-2002.
I suggested to her that we meet again on March 19, 2013 in time for the celebration of World Social Work Day. Our Department has been observing the celebration since 2007 with a forum and planning session for the annual celebration of the Social Work Week in Iloilo every June 13-19. We will maximize the occasion for consultation, related to the aforementioned agenda, with the PASWI chapter presidents and representatives of the National Association for Social Work Education, Inc. (NASWEI), Association of Local Social Welfare and Development Officers (ALSWDOPI) , Association of Medical Social Workers of the Philippines (AMSWPI), Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Provincial/City Social Welfare and Development Officers and non government organizations (NGOs).
After our meeting, I could not help but feel nostalgic about our PASWI regional association. Although the thought of reactivating it excites me. Probably, we were the first one to establish a regional association to formalize the tradition of involving other chapters when conducting activities in Iloilo. It was in 1998 when we decided to organize the PASWI Western Visayas while celebrating PASWI's Golden Year. Thereafter, we were able to sustain the organization for nearly a decade in line with the national thrust to strengthen regional clusters after the assembly decided to break the tradition with the ratification of the constitutional amendment for holding biennial conventions. The association was led by the Regional Coordinating Council/Board composed of chapter presidents and representatives from NASWEI, ALSWDOPI, AMSWPI, DSWD, NGOs and other social work organizations. We conducted quarterly regional updating, assisted in organizing and strengthening local chapters and other initiatives.
Some of us considered the decision surprising and ironic. In the sense, that earlier our regional association hosted the regional convention for Bicol and Visayas cluster with a very interesting theme i.e. “Building Regional Strength: The Social Work Advantage.” The Convention was supposed to focus on the importance of strengthening the local base and regional organizations in serving the vision of the national association. We thought that the theme would further strengthen our initiatives. But it did not. Instead of building the regional strength, the decision had curtailed regional initiatives. Since we were not given the chance to present our side to the national officers, we abided with the decision and deactivated our regional body with reservations. As expected, it had affected the dynamism of local chapters especially the flow of communication and coordination of activities.
I did not hide these reservations to Atty. Nalumen during our talk. However, she assured me that she is currently serving in the national board and, as a matter of fact, has been designated as coordinator of the Visayas Cluster. Having known her in the past, I know it would be worthwhile to respond to another call to continue the good things we have started. Yes, another call to PADAYON.