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Social Workers in the past 50 years (A sequel)


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By: Atty. Ma. Dolores J. Nalumen

THE TREE GROWS (1958 – 1988)

Having built a name and corporate reputation by this time, PASW increasingly became involved in national and international organizations, such as the Citizens Council for Mass Media, the Presidential Arm for Community Development, the Council for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, the IFSW and UNESCO. In 1959, it was accepted as a member of the International Conference on Social Welfare.

Social workers were busy entertaining international visitors among them Miss Evelyn Hersey, former UN Technical Adviser on Social Welfare and Mr. R.S. Soediman, Social Welfare officer from Indonesia, and attending international conferences as early as 1961. In the field of education, PASW brokered the meeting of heads and representatives of schools of social work in 1964, to discuss curriculum requirements for undergraduate education. This resulted in the formation of the SSWAP, the predecessor of NASWEI. Their second workshop was held on July 17 – 19, 1968 at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction in Silang, Cavite which was sponsored by the UNICEF and the Department of Social Welfare.

Social Work

There was also an accelerated involvement in social action and legislation. In 1961, PASW nominated among its ranks members to the First Board of Examiners. On June 1, 1967, R.A. 5178 was passed which amended R.A. 4373. It provided for licensing to practitioners with 5 or more years experience even without passing the Board exams.

On November 7, 1967, R.A. 4836 creating the JDRC of Q.C. was formally implemented with registered social workers in its social services division. In May 1968, with strong advocacy from PASW, the law creating the Department of Social Welfare and Development was passed and Pres. Ferdinand Marcos inducted into office the first secretary, Gregorio Feliciano.

Social workersStrong and sustained advocacy of social workers also played a role in the passage of PD 603 or the Child and Youth Welfare Code on December 10, 1977. This period also saw the creation of provincial chapters, of which the first recorded was Davao, later followed by Dagupan and Antique. Other chapters followed in Cebu, Iloilo, Dumaguete, Batangas, etc.

Fund-raising was likewise a major activity of PASW, such as sponsoring a movie premier to fund its Volunteer Center, and a shower party where members and friends donated things like teaspoons, coffee percolator, paper cups, and flower vases for the PASW office.

In 1977, social workers were honored for the first time by PRC which awarded Mrs. Josefa J. Martinez as Outstanding Social Worker. PRC gave this award every year, and the latest awardee was former PASWI President Angela Pangan. Other awardees were usually former PASW Presidents like Miss Teresita Silva, Miss Petra de Joya, Miss Leonora de Guzman, Minister Sylvia Montes, Mrs. Consuelo Herrera and CSC Chairperson Corazon Alma de Leon.

PASW TO PASWI, A BIG TREE (1988 – 1998)


1988 was the Ruby Anniversary of PASW. It was a unique celebration because it was a rebirth of sorts. SEC had removed PASW from its list in 1980 due to inadvertent omission to submit the necessary documents and reports. So it was reincorporated, this time as PASWI, and its projects and activities continued unabated and with renewed forum. The biennial conferences became an annual occurrence and more chapters were fervor.The Association has had 27 presidents including the present, Sonia Cueto, in its 50 years of existence. It has amended its Constitution and By–laws about half a dozen times. It counts 2,000 paid up members and 72 chapters nationwide. It has conducted 15 national biennial conferences and 10 national conventions and countless seminars and workshops for the professional growth of its members.

The PRC reports that there are at present 8,000 registered social workers. Yet PASWI reports a nationwide membership of 2,000. There is, then, much more to be done to include all these registered social workers in PASWI.


Pending with Congress are two bills beneficial to social workers which dearly love to see become laws. The Magna Carta for Social Workers and the amendment of the Local Government Code to include the mandate for local government executives to hire social work professionals only.

(Blogger’s Note: The Magna Carta for Public Social Workers was finally approved on April 11,2007)


A sequel to the Keynote Address delivered by Atty. Ma. Dolores J. Nalumen, PASWI National Vice President, during the First Regional Assembly of PASWI in Western Visayas at Punta Villa, Iloilo City on October 15, 1998


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