PCW joins 2010 National Family Week celebration

Manila – The intensified advocacy towards stronger and more resilient Filipino families to endure migration impacts is this year’s focus of the National Family Week Celebration on September 20-26.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Dinky Soliman said that the 2010 local theme, “Pamilya ng Migranteng Pilipino, Patatagin, at Paunlarin” aims to give importance in coming up with programs for migrant families, especially for the children who are left behind when one or both of their parents work abroad.

A kick-off activity led by Marikina City Mayor Del De Guzman was held in Teatro Marikina on September 20, 2010. “OFW Diaries” and “i-Witness” depicting the positive and negative faces of migration were shown followed by forum.

Dr. Paz Manaligod of Miriam College discussed the resiliency of family members who are left behind by the migrant workers. “A family, though separated by distance, can remain strong if all contribute in protecting and nurturing the bond,” said Manaligod. The vulnerabilities faced by family members must be addressed for resiliency to happen.

According to Kanlungan Centre Foundation, Inc., 1.4 million Filipinos, of which almost half are women, left the country in 2009 to look for ‘greener pastures.’ The figure does not include those illegally deployed.

With the increasing trend of female Filipinos working overseas, the males are left with child-rearing duties. House husbands, according to Manaligod, should not be ridiculed for they are “living proofs that males also posses nurturing qualities which enable them to be good fathers.”

Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Director Emmeline Verzosa expressed that, “The feminization of labor migration obliges the government to protect female migrants’ rights since they are most vulnerable to the negative consequences such as maltreatment, sexual abuse and unpaid wages issues.” She added that this could be achieved through gender-responsive and empowering policies and programs. Verzosa said migrant mothers and fathers who continue to secure emotional attachment to their families despite the challenges of migration deserves recognition.

The National Committee on the Filipino Family, chaired by the DSWD, spearheaded the 2010 National Family Week Celebration with partners from non-government organizations, other government agencies, and the private sector.