Tag Archives: R.A. 4373

All set for 8th Social Work Week in Iloilo

It will be another opportunity for Social Workers to take the center stage with the week-long celebration of the Social Work Week in Iloilo on June 13-19, 2012. The event will kick off with a motorcade around the city on June 13 to converge at the Freedom Grandstand for the Opening Program.

2005 Social Work Camp

On June 14 -15 the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. (PASWI) Iloilo Chapter will hold their Annual Conference and General Assembly at Punta Villa, Iloilo City. In the afternoon of June 15, Social Work students from five schools of Social Work in Panay and Negros will start their 3-day Regional Social Work Camp. To be hosted by Central Philippine University, the other participating schools are, as follows: Capiz State University, Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, Iloilo Doctors College, University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos.

Simultaneous with the Social Work Camp, the National Association for Social Work Education, Inc. (NASWEI)- Western Visayas will hold an assembly on June 16 at Central Philippine University. This will be participated in by faculty and field work supervisors of the aforementioned schools of Social Work.

On June 18, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office will sponsor a Social Welfare and Development Forum in Iloilo City. The Culminating Activity will be held on June 19 at the 5th floor Conference Room, Iloilo New Provincial Capitol Building.

Meanwhile, a Dental Mission will be jointly undertaken by the Association of Medical Social Workers- Iloilo Chapter and the College of Dentistry of the Iloilo Doctors College during the week-long celebration.

Forum with DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman during the 1st Social Work Week in 2005

Social Workers in other provinces of Western Visayas are also preparing for the celebration. The annual celebration has been institutionalized by respective 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 the passage of R. A. 4373 or Social Work Law on June 19, 1965 has regulated the practice of social work and the operation of social welfare agencies in the Philippines. Subsequently, it has created a new interest in social work and in the field of social welfare.

This year’s theme is “Responding to the Changing Times: Together, We Develop the Agenda for Social Work and Social Development.” It is an offshoot of the worldwide movement of social workers to push for the Global Social Agenda. Among others are social and economic equalities, dignity and worth of peoples, environmental sustainability, human relationships.

The celebration is a joint effort of the National Association for Social Work Education –Western Visayas, provincial chapters of the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc., Association of Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officers, Association of Medical Social Workers in the Philippines, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, City Social Welfare and Development Office, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Junior Social Workers Association.

Rediscovering the Ilonggo contribution to Social Work

As indicated in the previous post, the annual celebration of the social work week in the Philippines stemmed from the preparation for the Ruby Anniversary of the Social Work Law in June 19, 2005. Months earlier, a series of joint meetings and regional consultations of social workers in Western Visayas were held in Iloilo City after the National Convention of two major social work organizations in the Philippines. Both the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. (PASWI) and National Association for Social Work Education, Inc. (NASWEI) emphasized the paradigm shift on policy advocacy during respective conventions.

Challenged, Ilonggo social workers exhaustively looked for ways and means in pooling resources to maximize the celebration for policy advocacy. Similarly, we committed to deliberately and systematically promote the Social Work profession and its significant role in effecting social transformation.

In the process, we found out that 2005 was the 40th year of the Social Work Law. Otherwise known as Republic Act 4373, the law was passed on June 19, 1965. 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. So, we thought of making the occasion a good opportunity to unite in promoting our profession through policy advocacy.

With such discovery, we were very excited to think of activities to maximize the celebration. We thought of coming up with a resolution requesting then Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to declare June 13-19 as Social Work Week in Western Visayas, as it would be within our area of work. It gained strong support from other social work-led organizations and alliances in the region, as well as government officials and NGO leaders in the Regional Development Council. However, the Regional Development Council, which endorsed our resolution, opted for the national declaration as the Social Work Law is national in scope. Hence, the declaration should benefit other provinces in various regions.


Getting the clue from people in the authority, we informed both the national board of Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. (PASWI) and National Association of Social Work Education, Inc. (NASWEI) of this discovery and subsequent move to solicit support either thru endorsement of the resolution or making a national resolution related to the regional resolution.

While it failed to get the declaration from the Philippine President for some technicalities, the PASWI National called for the celebration nationwide. In Western Visayas, we succeeded in our advocacy as all provinces and major cities have institutionalized the celebration by respective resolutions/ordinances. Since then, while the degree and focus vary the event has been celebrated every year.

Later, in our research, we discovered that our initiative was just a continuation of the tradition of significant contribution of Ilonggo social workers in the history of the Social Work profession.
The first and foremost among Filipino social work pioneer is an Ilongga- Josefa Jara Martinez.

Martinez was the first executive secretary of the Associated Charities, considered to be the forerunner of social work in the Philippines. She was also the founder and first director of the first school of social work in the Philippines, now known as Philippine School of Social Work which was affiliated with the Philippine Women’s University. In 1978, she was awarded as Social Worker of the Year Award by the Professional Regulations Commissions.

Martinez was among the 7 pioneers that formed the first association of social workers in the Philippines. Joining her were two Ilongga social workers, namely: Carmen Montinola-Luz and Felicidad A. De Silva from Capiz.

Interestingly, the social worker –turned-senator, who authored the Social Work Law, had her roots in Iloilo City. Sen. Maria Kalaw- Katigbak, who held the distinction as the lone woman member of the Philippine Senate (1961 up to 1963), is a daughter of Pura Villanueva Kalaw, a renown Ilongga feminist/suffragist and writer. She organized the first ever feminist group in the Philippines, the Asociacion Feminista Ilonga.