I would like to greet and congratulate all the social workers in the city and province of Iloilo on the occasion of the 8th Social Work Week that starts today.
Social work is one of the noblest professions. It is often described as a “pathway to sainthood.” Indeed, all of you are like Mother Theresa, who was called the Saint of the Gutters. You work with the sick. You work with cripples. You work with the poor. You work with the hungry.
There is no question that social work is not financially rewarding. But true rewards can never be measured by money or by what you receive. Jackson Brown, author of the book Life’s Little Instruction, wrote that “the happiest people are not those who get more, but those who give more.”
For social workers are givers. You give a piece of your hearts and souls to those who don’t expect them – to people who thought that the world has turned its back on them. And working in a very depressing environment requires uncommon courage and exceptional dedication to help improve people’s lives.
If you talk about disability, a social worker is there. If you talk about homelessness, a social worker is there. If you talk about household violence, a social worker is there. If you talk about street children, a social worker is there. If you talk about illnesses, a social worker is there. If you talk about unemployment, a social worker is there.
Social workers are omnipresent. And it is because of this omnipresence that makes you the true agents of social development, especially in these changing times.
The theme of your celebration “Responding to the Changing Times: Together, We Develop the Agenda for Social Work and Social Development” is a challenge not only to you but also to us government officials because we can never effectively and efficiently deliver the necessary social services to our people without you.
Because it is you who show us what the real picture on the ground is. Without you, we will never know the real ills of society. Without you, we will never know who really needs help and attention.
And so we shall also be your partner in developing the agenda for social work and social development. In this pursuit, may we all be guided by the words of Nobel Prize winner and poet Rabindranath Tagore who said: “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
It has been said that service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. And you are the envy of everyone because you have already paid the rent for your room here on earth.
Madamo gid nga salamat kag maayong aga sa inyo tanan. (Thank you very much and a pleasant morning to all)
*Inspirational message of Dr. Raul Banias, Provincial Administrator, Province of Iloilo during the Opening Program of the 8th Social Work Week in Iloilo held at the City’s Freedom Grandstand on June 13, 2012. He represented Gov. Arthur Defensor, Sr. who was on official trip to Canada on same date.