Sworn to keep the rich tradition alive, social workers in Western Visayas are preparing for the celebration of the 10th Social Work Week on June 13-19, 2014. The theme for this year’s celebration is Advocacy amidst adversity: The Social Work distinction. It will highlight the peculiar role and capability of social workers to make the best or most even out of the worst condition/situation in life.
The event will kick off with a motorcade on June 13 simultaneously in respective provinces/cities to culminate with a launching program. The following day, Social Work students from five schools of Social Work in Panay and Negros will hold their respective Social Work Camps to include forum, sharing, literary and musical contests and sports. This will be participated in by Central Philippine University, Capiz State University, Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, Iloilo Doctors College, University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos. Other activities include photo exhibit, forum, symposium, and advocacies/promotion of the Social Work profession.
The annual celebration has been institutionalized by respective ordinances/ resolutions of city and provincial councils in Western Visayas to recognize of the role of social workers in nation building.
It will be recalled that in 2005, social workers, mostly from the National Association for Social Work Education, Inc. (NASWEI)-Western Visayas met in Central Philippine University to discuss and plan out activities to promote the social work profession. The context of the meeting was the preparation for the Ruby Anniversary of the Social Work Law at that year.
The Social Work Law (R.A. 4373) was passed on June 19, 1965 to regulate the practice of social work in the Philippines. However, it was noticed that the significance of the date of the passage of the Social Work Law had not been officially observed unlike other social welfare legislations which were passed even later.
The consultation sparked the move to advocate for the declaration of June 13-19 as Social Work Week. It gained strong support from the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. (PASWI) in Western Visayas. At that time, the national association encouraged and recognized regional aggrupations of provincial chapters. Hence, the close and quick coordination of regional activities. Other social work-led organizations and alliances in the region, as well as government officials and NGO leaders in the Regional Development Council (RDC) provided support. The resolution was endorsed by RDC and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Soon, the move gained nationwide support.
The week-long celebration is spearhead by Social Workers Organizations Regional Network (SWORN). Launched in 2013, SWORN will keep the rich heritage and tradition alive by strengthening the social work organizations/ groups in Western Visayas. It will serve as coordinating body of all social work organizations affiliated with recognized national bodies, as well as other independent ones.
SWORN will also act as support system to the regular activities of various organizations, and advocacy network to support the cause of Ilonggo social workers when needed. The network will spearhead the celebration of Social Work Week in Region VI. Moreover, it will be responsible for research-documentation and publication of the history, heritage and future development of social work endeavors in Western Visayas.
The regional network is governed by a Regional Council of Leaders composed of representatives from Philippine Association of Social Workers (PASWI), National Association for Social Work Education, Inc. (NASWEI), Association of Local Social Welfare and Development Officers of the Philippine, Inc. (ALSWDOPI), Association of Medical Social Workers in the Philippines (AMSWP), Alliance of Social Workers in NGOs (ASIN) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).