Celebrating the Filipino family
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) - September 22, 2020 - 12:00am

As the country observes the 28th National Family Week (Sept. 21-27, 2020)  the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joins the National Committee on the Filipino Family (NCFF) and all partner government agencies and civil society groups in celebration of the family. The National Family Week has been observed annually since 1992 after the signing of Proclamation 60, which declared every last week of September of every year as Family Week. This declaration is in accordance with the Philippine Constitution, which affirms that “the state recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation.”

The Church remains at the forefront since 1992 in supporting this proclamation. The theme set by the NCFF is “Tungo sa Maginhawa, Matatag, at Panatag na Pamilyang Pilipino” (Towards a Comfortable, Strong and Peaceful Filipino Family). In line with the national theme, the Church will observe the event with the theme #BFF: Building Forever Families. It’s a play around the popular acronym #BFF, which means best friends forever, but will have new definitions to express Latter-day Saint sentiments regarding the family.

For this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a unique challenge in the annual observance, the Church brings its family advocacy online by broadcasting a series of shows live on its Facebook page, which started yesterday and lasts up to Sept. 27. The shows will feature local Latter-day Saint families and will tackle special themed activities.

Some of the activities include a family home evening featuring a member of the Philippines Area Presidency with a local LDS family who bonds through food; a talk about fitness and body positivity to promote physical and mental wellness with Eric “Eruption” Tai and Rona Tai; a discussion about the basics of financial management to help families improve their finances with Salve Duplito, a Latter-day Saint financial journalist; an introduction to urban gardening with Carlo Aguilar; a walkthrough on family history by FamilySearch, aiming to teach people, especially the youth, how to start creating family trees to help them connect with their ancestors; a musical show that will feature young Latter-day Saint artists from different parts of the country and an online devotional from the Philippines Area Presidency that will feature messages that center around the family as well as to boost faith to remain spiritually resilient.

In addition to these activities, the Church, in partnership with Uniharmony Partners Manila (UPM) and the National Committee on the Filipino Family (NCFF), will host the 3rd Interfaith Family Forum (IFF). As part of the National Family Week celebration, the IFF is organized through partnerships with the interfaith community and other NCFF agencies.

It highlights various speakers who are experts in addressing issues that affect the modern family, such as mental health, spirituality, health and wellness and many others. The goal is to raise awareness on such issues and to educate families on the ways they can overcome factors that impact their family dynamics.

This forum will be tomorrow, Wednesday, at 3 to 5 p.m. through Zoom Webinar with this year’s theme “Mapagkalingang Pagtugon at Proteksyon sa Bawat Pamilyang Pilipino Mula sa Suliraning Pang-Ekonomiya at Karahasan sa Gitna ng Pandemyang COVID-19” (Caring Response and Protection of Every Filipino Family from Economic Concerns and Dangers Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic). A lineup of expert resource speakers is in place and they will share their knowledge and expertise on topics such as Mental Health and Suicide (Dr. Maribel Canlas, clinical counseling psychologist), Addiction and Pornography (Mary Ann Balen, LDS Family Services), Social Media Dilemma (Rev. Fr. Roy Bellen, Archdiocese of Manila), Self-Reliance through Gardening (Carlomagno Aguilar, Home Gardening owner); the Philippine Situation on the Mental Health of Youth (Renz Christian Argao, national adviser, Youth for Mental Health Coalition) and Spirituality in the Family (Elder Steven Bangerter, Philippines Area Presidency, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

Following the discussions, the forum will open for questions that speakers can help address. The webinar is open to all, and the Church and its partners, UPM and NCFF, encourage everyone to register.

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The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM), together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other government partners, are calling on all sectors of society to do their utmost in securing Filipino families against economic difficulties and violence stemming from the spread of the pandemic, as the country observes National Family Week (NFW) Sept. 21 to 27.

POPCOM and DSWD underscore the strengthening of Filipino families against outside forces which result in the loss of income, employment and livelihood, as well as internal ones that unsuspectingly creep from within, such as violence among their own members, especially against women and children. POPCOM has been actively participating in the DSWD-led celebration to address the manifold concerns facing Filipino families in the midst of the coronavirus disease’s spread.

Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III expressed that “while the situation imposed by COVID-19 is unique in itself, forcing family members to stay at home, it should be a welcome opportunity for them to forge stronger bonds and also break barriers to discuss matters and topics which before presented discomfort and unease, such as sexuality, responsible parenthood, family planning and the like.”

The POPCOM chief also reminded couples that the practice of family planning would greatly help in preserving and improving a family’s finances, as an additional child will set back a household to about two-thirds of its savings. He also exhorted members to “remain vigilant on violence incidences, especially on women and children, that can lead to sexual abuse and worse, add to the statistics of teenage pregnancies.

POPCOM will trumpet its campaign for protected families in “Ang Pamilyang PRotektado, Panalo” through its Sept. 26 “Usap Tayo Sa FP with Doc Jeepy” episode streamed via @OfficialPOPCOM and @UsaptayoSaFP Facebook pages. Perez will discuss POPCOM’s various projects, especially its active helpline, which continuously accepts inquiries and requests for family planning services.

DSWD and POPCOM commenced this year’s NFW with a symbolic ringing of bells by the heads of partner agencies yesterday through online audio-visual presentations. They have enjoined the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and other religious denominations to do the same as their way of participation.

Online activities centered on the NFW celebration may be followed online using the hashtag #ProtektadongPamilyaSaCovid19.

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Email: dominitorrevillas@gmail.com

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