The evolving Filipino family value system
SECURITY BLANKET - Dr. Nina Halili-Jao (The Philippine Star) - July 29, 2018 - 12:00am

More and more married couples are seeking legal ways to dissolve their union.

This rising trend in the dissolution of marital unions may lead to changes in the Filipino family value system. 

There is a dearth in the nationwide statistics on annulment and on married people, who, because of the high cost of the process of annulment, have just chosen to part ways and later on build a new set of family via “live-in” relationships. There are also now same-sex, live-in relationships. How will these changes affect the Filipino child’s value system development and future relationships?

Trends on divorce and separations in the Philippines were researched by Jeofrey B. Abalos in 2008 and 2013. His research showed that education, type of the first union, and childhood place of residence were significantly associated with being divorced or separated among women in our country.

According to Abalos’ study, “Filipino women with higher levels of education, those who were cohabiting without ever marrying in the first union, those who were raised in urban settings have higher risks of experiencing union dissolution than their counterparts. Religion and ethnicity are also associated with union breakdown among Filipino women.” His findings were based on data from the Philippine National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS). He further said, “This paper demonstrated that the rise in union dissolution in the Philippines has not happened in isolation. It has to some extent been influenced by the changing character of union formation in the country, the prevailing legal system, a growing acceptance of divorce, increasing education for women, and increasing urbanization.”

The Alteration of Filipino Family Values by Hans Fadol, published in 2014, said, “Based on the survey that we have conducted, we have encountered many Filipinos who have a nuclear type of family and most of them have siblings. They also still call their elders with respect. Now in the case of having dinner with family, there is a big percentage in the negative part. Why? It’s because some us do not value the importance of being together in a round table...To be particular, teens nowadays prefer to be with their friends rather than having a peaceful pray day with their family.”

The research also disclosed, however, that there are still those who still have and hold the quality and attributes of a true Filipino. It is recommended that we must step up and lead this country away from the extinction of its tradition and culture.

Yes, there currently is an evolving Filipino family value system because of a diversity of influencing factors due to the modernization of our society. Perhaps, the education system can help in teaching the core Filipino values to the youth to instill in their minds of the positive effects in their character development and in their future relationships.  These values need, of course, to be nurtured by the family and its social environment.

In my clinical practice as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, with the families I had the chance to interview, it was indeed heartening to learn that majority of these families still possess the core Filipino family values. Such values had been nurtured and passed on from one generation to the next.

The role of the school system, religion/spirituality and the immediate social environment cannot be discounted.  The identified patient is usually accompanied by one or both parents and quite frequently by siblings and or extended family members. With the recent technology, the parent or family member who cannot be physically present during the family conference will communicate with me via social media or video calls as a show of their emotional support system for the patient.

 (For questions on love and relationships, you may e-mail this author at

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