MANILA— The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Tuesday called for the support of all sectors of society in addressing the various challenges faced by typical Filipino families to bring them closer to the goals of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022.
The PDP envisions a prosperous middle-class society by 2040, with Filipino families enjoying a stable and comfortable life, as well as good health, and are smart and innovative.
In her message during the kick off of the 25th National Family Week Celebration (NFWC), DSWD Assistant Secretary Aleli Bawagan noted some of the big challenges that need to be addressed — insufficient income that drives many Filipinos to work abroad, which often leads to broken homes; disasters that turn children into orphans, and expose women and children to abuses in evacuation centers; drug addiction; and inadequate access to some health services.
“Malalaking hamon na kailangang sama-sama natin harapin. Isa sa mga kongkreto nating magagawa bilang mga advocates ng Pamilyang Pilipino ay ang pagpapalawig ng ilan sa ating mga umiiral na batas at (These are major challenges that we need to face together. One concrete move we could make as advocates of the Filipino family is to extend existing laws and) interventions,” Bawagan told attendees of the interfaith event held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Aurora Blvd. in Quezon City.
These interventions include Republic Act (RA) 8972 or the Solo Parents Welfare Act; RA 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act; stronger support for the proper implementation of family planning services; and pushing for shared responsibility in rearing of children and household work, while ensuring that proper communication, respect, love and caring prevail within the family.
Bawagan encouraged everyone to get involved and organize themselves to ensure that every Filipino family gets prompt, compassionate and caring services that are fair and free from corruption.
The Solo Parents Welfare Act tasks the DSWD to lead the creation of a comprehensive package of social welfare services for solo parents and their children. Amendments to the Act have been proposed to make it more responsive to the current plight of solo parents.
In an interview, Ryan Pagaduan, an elder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, stressed the importance of strengthening families and protecting family ties, mainly by helping people to have the right perspective and right focus.
He stressed the importance of constant communication among family members, especially in resolving problems, whether simple or complex.
“I believe that everybody should contribute to ensure that each family will really have good communication. For example, parents have to work together in the shared responsibility for children. The children also have a role to play in establishing good communication. I think all government agencies, communities should also help each other to ensure that every family should have effective communication,” he added.
Pagaduan said that while different families face different challenges, it is important to ensure that no matter how far apart one is from the others, the line of communication should always be open, and this should be easy with the use of modern technology.
“Even though we are apart from each other, we can still establish good and quality communication. For me, that is something that should be constant in every family, whatever their condition and circumstance in their life are,” he added.
Meanwhile, Margie Calderon, a solo parent and beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), who works as a laundrywoman, said the cash grant that she receives helps her a lot in fulfilling her responsibilities as “mother” and “father” to her children.
“Kung wala po ang programa, mas magiging mahirap po para sa akin. Yung perang nakukuha ko po, nakakatulong po sa ibang pangangailangan ng mga anak ko sa eskwela (I would have a more difficult time raising my family without the program. The money that I get helps me fulfill my children’s school needs),” Calderon said.
She added that she learned a lot from the program’s activities for family participants, making her realize that she needs to replace her “negative actions” with “positive actions”.
The theme for the 2017 celebration of the 25th NFWC is “Tungo sa Maginhawa, Matatag, at Panatag na Pamilyang Pilipino”, which envisions better initiatives to strengthen the Filipino family, especially the new generation.
The event is celebrated every last week of September, as mandated by Proclamation No. 60, signed by former President Fidel V. Ramos on September 28, 1992.