“Families are the foundation of sustainable development. It is my hope that the incoming administration will continue to implement family-oriented programs like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino to ensure that families can attain progress and development.”
This was the message of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman during the celebration of the International Day of Families (IDF) at the SM North Skydome on Sunday.
The IDF is observed annually worldwide on the 15th of May based on the 1993 Resolution of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.
Together with the global community, DSWD spearheaded the Philippine observance of IDF in partnership with other government agencies, civil society organizations, local government units, and the SM Foundation.
With the theme, “Families, Healthy Lives and Sustainable Future”, around 500 families and family-advocates came together to celebrate this important day which highlighted the importance of family unity and togetherness.
Inspiration from Pantawid Pamilya
To inspire the audience, Sec. Soliman shared stories of family-beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya who have achieved tighter family relationships through the program.
“May isang nanay na nagsabi na dahil sa isang session ng FDS kung saan tinalakay ay pagiging responsableng magulang ay naging maayos ang kanilang pamilya (A mother shared that through the FDS on responsible parenting, their family relationships became better),” Sec. Soliman shared.
Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program that invests in the health and education of poor families, primarily those with children aged 0-18 years. It provides monthly cash grants to beneficiaries who comply with the conditions of sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers, and attending the Family Development Sessions (FDS).
FDS is conducted monthly by DSWD and partners-NGOs in coordination with the private sector and civil society organizations. It serves as a venue where topics on effective parenting, husband and wife relationships, child development, laws affecting the Filipino family, among others.
Through the FDS, parents also learned about the benefits of positive disciplining versus corporal punishment.
Dr. Mariella Castillo of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the Philippines also joined the activity to share the solidarity message of the international organization for Filipino families.
She emphasized the importance of the IDF’s theme which focuses on the significance of families in global development.
“Families should remain at the center of social development whether in the conceptualization or implementation of policies and programs,” Dr. Castillo stated.
On the other hand, seasoned news anchor, Alex Tinsay also shared his thoughts on work-family balance during the event. He said that it is important to strive hard at working for the family’s future, but giving quality time to family relationships is also equally vital.
“The challenge for the Filipino family is to turn unattractive moments of family conflict into happy times of warm bonding. No amount of success could compensate our failure in our own families,” Tinsay emphasized.
A strong family advocate, Engineer Emerito Rojas shared his personal and family life story to inspire the participants in continuously upholding the Filipino tradition of strong family relationships.
Engr. Emerito, who is a cancer survivor, together with his wife and four children, has embarked on a unique advocacy to help fellow cancer survivors. As a result of this advocacy, the Rojas family became the 2015 Jollibee Family Values Awardee.
Engr. Emerito enjoined all families to work together to achieve progress and also to initiate change in the society.
“Change should start with the family, the smallest unit of the society. The government can only lead and show us the way,” he stressed.
Also present during the event were Commissioner Earl Saavedra of the National Youth Commission (NYC), Colonel Taharudin Piang Ampatuan of the National Defense Colleges of the Philippines (NDCP), and host-actor Robi Domingo, who came with his family.
As a follow through activity for the IDF, DSWD also celebrates National Family Week every 3rd week of September.