Category Archives: Education

Indeed, our labor will never be in vain

Today is Labor Day as celebrated in many countries worldwide. In the Philippines, this year’s celebration has the following theme: Manggagawang Pilipino: Handa sa Hamon ng Makabagong Panahon implying the readiness of Pilipino workers to respond to the challenges of the changing times. In my other blog, I shared the historical significance of this day to commemorate the economic and social achievements of workers.

Rev. Job Santiago addresses the MSPM graduates and their respective families and church members

Rev. Job Santiago addresses the MSPM graduates and their respective families and church members

However, it is not only the historical significance of the Labor Day that reminds me of today’s celebration. Equally worth remembering is the 1st Conferral Ceremony for Master of Socio Pastoral Ministries (MSPM) graduates held three years ago at Ajuy Christian Development Academy, Iloilo, Philippines. It was graced by no other than the General Secretary of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC), Rev. Job A. Santiago, who was the conferral speaker.

The occasion could have been a day of rejoicing for me as it would be a culmination of my pioneering and voluntary work. I was supposed to give my message for the pioneer graduates. Unfortunately, seven months before the event, I was seriously ill caused by chronic heart ailment, compounded by unusual nerve disorder.

Worse, my vulnerable condition was taken advantage by the group who had an axe to grind against me for leading the move  to frustrate their scheme  to railroad the selection process for top post in the CPBC. Even to the extent of manipulating circumstances to shame me including an attempt to derail the graduation of the pioneering MSPM students. While I have long forgiven the perpetrators, recollection of the event continues to add significance to the successful endeavors which are manifestations of God’s grace and strength over our weaknesses.

Dazen Dawn delivers my message for the MSPM pioneer graduates

Dazen Dawn delivers my message for the MSPM pioneer graduates

Anyway, though bedridden and unable to join the event, my message still reached the target audience. It was delivered by my daughter Dazen Dawn.
Entitled MSPM: Another story of endless possibilities, it was published on PADAYON: Our Life journey. I decided to reblog my post in two installments to commemorate the Labor Day.

“Today, we are witnesses to another story of endless possibilities. Overcoming the tests of times and circumstances, our pastors in North Iloilo and Negros will receive with joy and pride, without necessarily being boastful, their hard- earned certificates in today’s Conferral Ceremony. The choice of the date for this event, which happened to be Labor Day, was more circumstantial than intentional.

However, viewed in the context of the long winding road trod by students and faculty to sustain the MSPM program, the date has become doubly significant. With gladness, we can shout on this Labor Day that our labour is not in vain, after all.

MSPM2

The biblical account of the feeding of the 5,000+ serves as inspiration to the MSPM story. Aware of the needs of the time, a boy offered whatever he has to respond to the call for service. He was not disturbed by overwhelming discrepancies and limitations, even criticisms. His voluntary spirit made a difference. Amidst reservations, if not downgrading of the modest offering, Jesus made use of what was available and another miracle happened.

An inspiring story to remind us that our labor, no matter how small and simple, will never be in vain in the Lord. Let me stress this point because it appears that our past experiences of difficulties or disappointments have made us callous and apathetic for change, especially as far as organizational or institutional life is concerned. Sometimes, we cannot even start any good project or movement because we are already overpowered by the difficulties and perceived problems or impossibilities, even before we give it a try.

MSPM students taking up the examinations

The MSPM Program has a foretaste of this experience. Since its start in 2007, some downgraded the voluntary effort while others already expressed skepticism of its sustainability, even before it is tested. Worse, there were those who consistently campaign against it when the program was well accepted by pastors, even to the extent of recruiting those already participating in the MSPM program to join the program they promote.

In our response, we dared the critics to a debate whoever they are and wherever they want. We argue that MSPM has been designed with quality not inferior to what Central Philippine University offered in Master of Social Work program which was patterned to that of the University of the Philippines- Diliman, yet friendly and affordable for pastors. The faculty are more than qualified. The only difference is compensation because in MSPM, we teach voluntarily, gaining the love and respect of pastors, not monetary profit.

Favorable conditions

Conglomeration of events have been favorable for the design of the MSPM program. A couple of us tried the distance education program of a state college in Iloilo for our doctoral degree which met once a month. Some were also teaching, once a week, in Korean seminary in Iloilo City which offered Master of Arts in Missiology. Moreover, we were inspired by the successful revival of the Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) program in CPU which produced the first graduate, after 30 years. We even opened an extension class with weekly meetings at Convention Baptist Bible College for Negros students.

Those aforementioned favorable trends served as signals for us to entertain the questions: Why can’t we design similar approach for a graduate studies program for pastors? If it was successfully implemented in professional social work courses, why can’t we do the same for pastors? But, how?

MSPM graduates pose for posterity together with Rev. Santiago after the Conferral Ceremony

MSPM graduates pose for posterity together with Rev. Santiago after the Conferral Ceremony

My previous sad experience has also served its purpose. When elected as president of Convention Baptist Ministers Association, I continued the term of my predecessor in the committee which was tasked to study and recommend to the CPBC Board cases of pastors undergoing graduate programs from other theological institutions. The arguments were overwhelming against recognizing the degrees from other schools not affiliated with the CPBC and related affiliations. The most that I could do at that time was raised the question: Can CPBC provide alternatives?”

(To be continued)

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Antipodes

On the occasion of the global celebration of Earth Day tomorrow, April 23, 2013, I decided to repost  the following article that was first published on July 7, 2011 because of its relevance to the theme of the celebration. This year’s theme is The Face of Climate Change.

Image

God, the Supreme Being (known in various names to diverse tongues and context), gave man and woman the power to have dominion over the fish of the sea, birds on the air, and every living things that moves upon the earth.

But humanity used such power to dominate their fellow human beings.

The Creator put man and woman in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it.

But men and women plunder, pollute and waste the natural resources. To ensure their domain, they cut a tree, hanged God and built a sanctuary. Confining Him on the four walls of the church, they nailed his hands and feet so that they continue destroying the earth.

Jesus the Christ came to give assurance of eternal life to the dead.

But humans ensure the living of their death by the coverage of insurance companies bearing the religious terms like Eternal Life, Ascension, Resurrection and the like

Jesus invites the weary and heavy laden to come to him and find rest and peace.

But humanity invents destructive weapons to make their fellow humans quickly rest in peace.

Jesus exhorts his followers to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, visit the prisoners, clothe the naked, invite strangers to their homes.

But humans find it pleasurable to visit the naked, sprinkle water and gas to the hungry, invite the thirsty to prison, sell to the strangers their homes.

As it was in the beginning men and women are fond of making reversals. No wonder Bernard Backman was inspired to write the Reverse Creation – a gloomy picture of what will happen in the end should these antipodes continue.

REVERSE CREATION
by Bernard Backman

In the end, we destroyed the heaven that was called Earth. The Earth had been beautiful until our spirit moved over it and destroyed all things.

And we said…

Let there be darkness… and there was darkness. And we liked the darkness; so we called the darkness, Security.And we divided ourselves into races and religions and classes of society. And there was no morning and no evening on the seventh day before the end.

And we said…

Let there be a strong government to control us in our darkness. Let there be armies to control our bodies so that we may learn to kill one another neatly and efficiently in our darkness. And there was no evening and no morning on the sixth day before the end.

And we said…

Let there be rockets and bombs to kill faster and easier; let there be gas chambers and furnaces to be more thorough. And there was no evening and no morning on the fifth day before the end.

blix2_0And we said…

Let there be drugs and other forms of escape, for there is this constant annoyance – Reality – which is disturbing our comfort. And there was no evening and no morning on the fourth day before the end.

And we said…

Let there be divisions among the nations, so that we may know who is our common enemy. And there was no evening and no morning on the third day before the end.

And finally we said…

Let us create God in our image. Let some other God compete with us. Let us say that God thinks as we think,hates as we hate, and kills as we kill. And there was no morning and no evening on the second day before the end.

On the last day, there was a great noise on the face of the Earth. Fire consumed the beautiful globe, and there was silence. The blackened Earth now rested to worship the one true God; and God saw all that we had done,and in the silence over the smoldering ruins… God wept.

Join the Earth Day celebration. Share this Earth  video.

On Placards and Strained Voices

Guest blog post by Dazen Dawn P. Lariza*

Article first published  on Central Echo, October 2012 edition.

Under the striking heat of the burning sun they stand clothed in sweat-drenched fabric and glistening faces that speak of courage and anger. With fists held high, they fight oppression, not with grenades and bombs and nuclear weapons but with their right to be loud, their right to be heard, their right to be free etched in placards and streamers that cry “CHANGE” and “JUSTICE.”

Activism has become the reason for enlightenment in many dark periods in our history such as Martial Law. As the government resulted to all sorts of actions in order to suppress their freedom, a new revolution was created through groups of Filipinos, especially students, who fought for their rights. The death of thousands created a ripple of events that brought forth a peaceful war of words and prayers which ended the dictator’s reign, hence, the reason why student activism still prevails in our present society.

Some may wonder why students choose to become activists and do things that may be considered “acts of rebellion.” Well, you’d have to think like an activist and learn to sympathize with what they fight for in order to understand what they do. Oikos Ecological Movement and League of Filipino Students (LFS) member Jan Pachoco didn’t understand the reason why student activists resulted to such actions until he got to know them and the reason behind their actions and eventually decided to join in the crowd.

Actually at first, when I see activists on the streets I wonder why they do such things and why they question and blame the government for all the crises faced by our society. But when I got to know them, my mind was opened to the sad realities they see,” he said.

The life of being a student activist is not an easy road. People misjudge you; your time has to be divided, and you have to keep secrets from people close to you if they turn against you and your beliefs. Student activists have far greater issues than picking an outfit for College Night of leveling up your character on League of Legends.

According to Jan, being a student activist has its demands. One of which is sacrificing time to study the different issues which confront the present generation. “We cannot make a concrete analysis and solution to the problems if we do not know the issue,” he said, adding that such a sacrifice is not a big deal because “if we were truly committed to the principles we would not hesitate to sacrifice a little for the good of every Filipino.”

Aside from that comes the pressure of some parents on their children to stop involving themselves in student activism. Jan said it is the greatest issue most of his colleagues have to face. They have to make their parents and families understand that such actions are note merely for their own good but also for the family. With this, Jan quoted a line from Renato Constantino saying, “If parents of today do not march with the youth, they will be left behind and will deserve only the censure of history. If the youth fail to enlist the active participation of other sectors of society, their movement will suffer from a fatal distortion.

Other than those stated above, student activists have to face the watchful eyes of their own Universities’ administrations especially on those coming from the LFS who oppose tuition fee increases and the likes. Various administrations such as those in the University of the Philippines take extra effort in trying to get rid of them.

In a statement posted on LFS.ph in December 7, 2010 by then UP Aterisk member Dino Pineda, he had said “We thought we were dying. We thought student activism had gone down the slope, and had become irreconcilably ‘uncool’ for the generation.” Dino stated actions which their administration did to silence them and their efforts in fighting against this. He ended his statement with this line, “More and more, we are seeing how this Administration is trying to kill us. Yes, we are dying. But we are not dying without a fight.”

Contrary to what others believe in, their efforts in fighting for social change are not useless. From rallies, State of the Youth Addresses, writing in print to spray painting stencils of a hangman tied to a yellow noose and more, these student activists may not always get what they want but their voices and opinions do get heard a lot. Through thousands of students marching against budget cuts on Education, a raise on budget happened. According to Jan, the Anti-No Permit, No Exam Policy bill is already being recognized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the latest protest against the Cybercrime Law has been issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). So who’s to say that their screams of rage go to waste?

Yes. They are often a common sight. You find them in clusters on streets, government centers, and business firms screaming out their rebellion, fighting for what they believe is right in an unjust society. Whether they be frowned upon by society or be understood by those who sympathize with what they feel, they wouldn’t really care, because activism is not meant to be understood by people who remain ignorant to what they believe in. Activism is meant for those who feel the need to be heard by a society that remains deaf to those who cry for freedom and equality. Activism is for those who believe that freedom is not an option.

Freedom is a gift. Fight for it.

______________

*Dazen Dawn is News Editor of Central Echo. She is 2nd year BS Psychology student of Central Philippine University, Iloilo City, Philippines.

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.

MSPM: Another story of endless possibilities

Today is Labor Day as celebrated in many countries worldwide. In my other blog, I shared some researches on the historical significance of this day to commemorate the economic and social achievements of workers. Inspired by the Pauline epistle to the Corinthian, I titled it Our labor will never be in vain.

However, it is not only the historical significance of the Labor Day that inspired me to blog. Equally inspiring is the 1st Conferral Ceremony for Master of Socio Pastoral Ministries graduates held two years ago at Ajuy Christian Development Academy, Iloilo, Philippines. It was graced by no other than the General Secretary of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC), Rev. Job A. Santiago, who was the conferral speaker.

The occasion could have been a day of rejoicing for me as it would be a culmination of my pioneering and voluntary work. I was supposed to give my message for the pioneer graduates. Unfortunately, seven months before the event, I was seriously ill caused by chronic heart ailment, compounded by unusual nerve disorder. However, though bedridden, my message still reached the target audience. It was delivered by my daughter Dazen Dawn.

Entitled MSPM: Another story of endless possibilities, it was published on PADAYON: Our Life journey. I decided to reblog my post in two installments  to commemorate the Labor Day.

“Today, we are witnesses to another story of endless possibilities. Overcoming the tests of times and circumstances, our pastors in North Iloilo and Negros will receive with joy and pride, without necessarily being boastful, their hard- earned certificates in today’s Conferral Ceremony. The choice of the date for this event, which happened to be Labor Day, was more circumstantial than intentional. However, viewed in the context of the long winding road trod by students and faculty to sustain the MSPM program, the date has become doubly significant. With gladness, we can shout on this Labor Day that our labour is not in vain, after all.

The biblical account of the feeding of the 5,000+ serves as inspiration to the MSPM story. Aware of the needs of the time, a boy offered whatever he has to respond to the call for service. He was not disturbed by overwhelming discrepancies and limitations, even criticisms. His voluntary spirit made a difference. Amidst reservations, if not downgrading of the modest offering, Jesus made use of what was available and another miracle happened.

An inspiring story to remind us that our labor, no matter how small and simple, will never be in vain in the Lord. Let me stress this point because it appears that our past experiences of difficulties or disappointments have made us callous and apathetic for change, especially as far as organizational or institutional life is concerned. Sometimes, we cannot even start any good project or movement because we are already overpowered by the difficulties and perceived problems or impossibilities, even before we give it a try.

The MSPM Program has a foretaste of this experience. Since its start in 2007, some downgraded the voluntary effort while others already expressed skepticism of its sustainability, even before it is tested. Worse, there were those who consistently campaign against it when the program was well accepted by pastors, even to the extent of recruiting those already participating in the MSPM program to join the program they promote.

MSPM pioneer students during the Semestral Joint Class in North Negros Baptist Bible College

In our response, we dared the critics to a debate whoever they are and wherever they want. We argue that MSPM has been designed with quality not inferior to what Central Philippine University  offered in Master of Social Work program which was patterned to that of the University of the Philippines- Diliman, yet friendly and affordable for pastors. The faculty are more than qualified. The only difference is compensation because in MSPM, we teach voluntarily, gaining the love and respect of pastors, not monetary profit.

Favorable conditions

Conglomeration of events have been favorable for the design of the MSPM program. A couple of us tried the distance education program of a state college in Iloilo for our doctoral degree which met once a month. Some were also teaching, once a week, in Korean seminary in Iloilo City which offered Master of Arts in Missiology. Moreover, we were inspired by the successful revival of the Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) program in CPU which produced the first graduate, after 30 years. We even opened an extension class with weekly meetings at Convention Baptist Bible College for Negros students.

Those aforementioned favorable trends served as signals for us to entertain the questions: Why can’t we design similar approach for a graduate studies program for pastors? If it was successfully implemented in professional social work courses, why can’t we do the same for pastors? But, how?

My previous sad experience has also served its purpose. When elected as president of Convention Baptist Ministers Association, I continued the term of my predecessor in the committee which was tasked to study and recommend to the CPBC Board cases of pastors undergoing graduate programs from other theological institutions. The arguments were overwhelming against recognizing the degrees from other schools not affiliated with the CPBC and related affiliations. The most that I could do at that time was raised the question: Can CPBC provide alternatives?”

(To be continued)