The recent visit to our office of the former National President of the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. (PASWI) has rekindled my interest in our association. More so, when she made a special request for our active participation in PASWI and the possibility of reviving our regional association/ fellowship in Western Visayas.
I could not help but feel nostalgic about our association having served it for sometime as president of the local chapter, member of the national board and chair of the Regional Coordinating Council/Board. I even posted the impact of such visit on my other blog which triggered discussion in one face book group. Expectedly, there will be more discussion as we review and analyze PASWI National actions related to our advocacy in the region.
Going over the remnants of memoirs salvaged from flash flood and onslaught of Typhoon Frank in 2006, I found the October 1998 edition of PASWI Newsletter of Iloilo Chapter. In toto, this is the report on how we organized the Regional Association in Western Visayas during the Golden Year of PASWI.
Despite the heavy rain and strong wind caused by impending threat of a storm, over a hundred social workers coming from five provinces in Region VI gathered together at Punta Villa, Iloilo City to celebrate the Golden Year of the Philippine Association of Social Workers.
Under the theme “Varied Roles of Social Workers in the next 50 Years,” the event turned out to be the first regional assembly of social workers in Western Visayas to tackle pressing issues like human rights, justice and peace, economic reforms, ecology, local governance, children and youth welfare.
The affair was graced by the presence of all PASWI Iloilo past presidents, two of whom came all the way from Manila to serve as resource persons, namely: Atty. Ma. Dolores Nalumen and Sr. Teresa Mabasa, DC. Atty. Nalumen, Director of Parole and Probation Office Region IV and concurrent PASWI National Vice President, delivered the keynote address which centered on the historical development of PASWI.
Sr. Teresa Mabasa, Provincial Visitatrix of the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity, presented the Trends and Challenges that await the social workers in the years ahead. The other resource persons corresponding their respective topics were Vice Mayor Rosemarie Doromal, RSW, Local Governance; Ms. Stella, NEDA Region VI, Economic and Social Reforms; Chris Montano, Human Rights; Rebecca Geamala, RSW, Children and Youth welfare; Ruth Corvera, RSW, Family Welfare; Supt. Carlito Dimaano, Justice and Peace; Alicia Lustica, DENR, Issues and Trends.
One of the highlights of the assembly was the awarding of social workers who have been in service for more than two decades together with those who have done outstanding achievement in various fields of endeavors. Leading the awardees were retired DSWD Assistant Regional Director Dominga Bacordo and Prof. Irene Ortigas. Ms. Bacordo holds the distinction of being the first PASWI-Iloilo president and the longest serving social worker in Iloilo (over 40 years) while Prof. Ortigas is the acknowledged pioneer of social work education in central Philippine university, the breeding ground of most social work practitioners in Western Visayas.
During the business meeting the delegates elected the interim officers to prepare the mechanics of the regional federation since the national constitution is silent about it. Consequently, the officers created committee to study and frame the provisions that will fit the condition in Region VI. Another committee has been tasked to organize provincial and city chapters in Western Visayas in preparation for another regional assembly set on January 28-28, 1999.