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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

RA 9258 or Guidance & Counseling Act of 2004

Republic of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines
Metro Manila
Twelfth Congress
Third Regular Session
Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday, the twenty-eighth day of July, two thousand and three.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:



SECTION 1. Title. - This Act shall be known as the "Guidance and Counseling Act of 2004."

SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. – It is hereby declared a policy of the State to promote the improvement, advancement, and protection of the guidance and counseling profession by undertaking and instituting measures that will result in professional, ethical, relevant, efficient, and effective guidance and counseling services for the development and enrichment of individuals and group lives.
The State recognizes the important role of guidance counselors in nation-building and promotes the sustained development of a reservoir of guidance counselors whose competence have been determined by honest and credible licensure examinations and whose standards of professional practice and service are world-class and internationally recognized, globally competitive through preventive regulatory measures, programs and activities that foster their continuing professional development.
SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. – As used in this Act, the following terms shall mean:
Guidance and Counseling is a profession that involves the use of an integrated approach to the development of well-functioning individual primarily by helping him/her to utilize his /her potentials to the fullest and plan his/her future in accordance with his/her abilities, interests and needs. It includes functions such as counseling, psychological testing, (as to personality, career interest, study orientation, mental ability and aptitude), research, placement, group process, teaching and practicing of guidance and counseling subjects, particularly subjects given in the licensure examinations, and other human development services.

A guidance counselor is a natural person who has been registered and issued a valid Certificate of Registration and a valid Professional Identification Card by the Professional Regulatory Board of Guidance and Counseling and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) in accordance with this Act and by virtue of specialized training performs for a fee, salary or other forms of compensation, the functions of guidance and counseling under Section 3 (a) of this Act.



SEC. 4. Creation of the Professional Regulatory Board of Guidance and Counseling. – There shall be created a Professional Regulatory Board of Guidance and Counseling, hereinafter referred to as the Board, under the administrative control and supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission, hereinafter referred to as the Commission, to be composed of a Chairman and two (2) members who shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines from among a list of three (3) recommendees for each position submitted by the Commission from a list of five (5) nominees for each position submitted by the accredited and integrated organization of guidance counselors.

SEC. 5. Powers, Functions, Duties and Responsibilities of the Board. – The Professional Regulatory Board shall have the following specific powers, duties and responsibilities:

a. Supervise and regulate the practice of Guidance and Counseling;
b. Determine and evaluate the qualifications of the applicants for registration with or without licensure examinations and for issuance of special permits;
c. Prepare the examination questions in accordance with Section 15 hereof of the modifications thereof, and correct and rate the examination papers through a process of computerization;
d. Prepare, adopt, issue or amend the syllabi for the subjects in the licensure examination, in consultation with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the academe and the accredited professional organization;
e. Register successful examines in the licensure examination and issue the corresponding certificates of registration;
f. Issue special/temporary permits to foreign guidance counselors to practice Guidance and Counseling for specific projects and for a specific duration of time for a fee or on medical mission without a fee;
g. Monitor the conditions affecting the practice of Guidance and Counseling, conduct ocular inspection of places where guidance counselors practice their profession, and adopt measures for the enhancement of the profession and the maintenance of high professional, technical and ethical standards;
h. Ensure, in coordination with the CHED, that all educational institutions offering the course/program of Guidance and Counseling comply with the policies, standards and requirements of the said course prescribed by the CHED in the areas of curriculum, faculty, library and facilities;
i. Promulgate rules and regulations including a Code of Ethics, a Code of Technical Standards for guidance counselors and administrative policies, orders and issuances, to carry out the provisions of this Act;
j. Investigate violations of this Act and the Rules and Regulations, Code of Ethics, Code of Technical Standards, administrative policies, orders and issuances promulgated by the Professional Regulatory Board. The rule on administrative investigation promulgated by the Commission shall govern in such investigation;
k. Issue subpoena or subpoena duces tecum to secure the attendance of respondents and witnesses or the production of documents relative to the investigation conducted by the Board;
l. Render decision, order or resolution on preliminary investigation or inquiry against violators of this Act, Rules and Regulations, Code of Ethics, Code of Technical Standards or any policy on under policy on undocked cases and on docketed administrative cases against examines or registrants, which shall become final and executory unless appealed with the Commission within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the copy thereof;
m. Issue, suspend, revoke or re-issue any license for the practice of Guidance and Counseling as defined in this Act;
n. Administer oaths necessary for the effective implementation of this Act;
o. Initiate criminal action against any violator of this Act and/or the rules and regulations of the Board;
p. Adopt the official seal of the Board;
q. Prescribe guidelines and criteria on the continuing professional education (CPE);
r. Adopt such measures necessary and proper for the maintenance of high ethical and professional standards in the practice of the profession; and
s. Perform such other functions and duties as may be necessary to effectively implement this Act.
The policies, resolutions and rules and regulations issued or promulgated by the Professional Regulatory Board shall be subject to review and approval by the Commission; however, the Board’s decisions, resolutions or orders which are not interlocutory, rendered in an administrative case, shall be subject to review only if on appeal with the Commission. The decision of the Board and/or the Commission may be appealed to the Court of Appeals in accordance with the Rules of Court.

SEC. 6. Qualifications of the Professional Regulatory Board Members. – The Chairman and members of the Professional Regulatory Board, at the time of their appointment shall:

a. Be a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines;
b. Be a resident of the country for at least five (5) years immediately prior to his/her appointment;
c. Be of good moral character and must not have been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude;
d. Be a qualified guidance counselor holding a valid Certificate of Registration: Provided, That in the case of the first members of the Board of Guidance and Counseling, they shall be issued Certificates of Registration as guidance counselors without prior examination;
e. Be a holder of a doctoral degree in Guidance and Counseling from a reputable college or university duly recognized by the CHED and/or by a duly accredited college or university abroad;
f. Have at least ten (10) years of continuous professional practice as a guidance counselor or counselor educator under this Act;
g. Not be a member of the faculty of any school, college, or university where regular and/or review courses in guidance and counseling education is taught nor have any pecuniary interest in such institution; and
h. Not be an official of the integrated and accredited national professional organization.
SEC. 7. Term of Office. – The members of the Board shall hold office for a term of three (3) years or until their successors shall have been appointed and qualified. They may, however, be reappointed for a second term. Of the members to be appointed for the first Board, one (1) member shall hold office as Chairman for three (3) years; one (1) as member for two (2) years; and one (1) member for a term of one (1) year. Any vacancy in the Board shall be filled for the unexpired portion of the term only. Each member shall take the proper oath to assumption of duty.
SEC. 8. Administrative Supervision of the Board, Custodian of its Records, Secretariat and Support Services. - All records of the Board, including application for examination and administrative and other investigative cases shall be under the custody of the Commission. The Commission shall designate the Secretary of the Board and shall provide the secretariat and support services to implement the provisions of this Act.
SEC. 9. Compensation and Allowances of the Board. – The Chairman and members of the Board shall receive compensation and allowances comparable to the compensation and allowances received by the chairman and members of existing regulatory boards under the Commission as provided for in the General Appropriations Act.
SEC. 10. Grounds for Suspension or Removal of Board Members. – The President of the Philippines, upon the recommendation of the Commission, after giving the concerned member an opportunity to defend himself/herself in a proper administrative investigation to be conducted by the Commission, may remove and suspend any member on the following grounds:
a. neglect of duty or incompetence;
b. violation or tolerance of the violation of this Act or the Code of Ethics and Code of Professional and Technical Standards for guidance counselors; c. conviction by final judgment of crimes involving moral turpitude;
d. manipulation or rigging of the licensure examination results, disclosure of secret information or the examination questions prior to the conduct of the said examination, or tampering of the grades therein; or
e. conviction by final judgment of any criminal offense by the courts.

SEC. 11. Annual Report – The Chairman of the Board, shall after the close of the fiscal year, submit an annual report to the Commission, giving a detailed accounting of the proceedings of the Board during the year and embodying such recommendations as the Board may desire to make.



SEC. 12. Examination Required. All applicants for registration for the practice of Guidance and Counseling shall be required to undergo a licensure examination to be given by the Board and the Commission in such places and dates as the Commission may designate in accordance with Republic Act No. 8981, subject to compliance with the requirements prescribed by the Commission.

SEC. 13. Qualifications for Examination. In order to qualify for the examination, an applicant must, at the time of filing the application, be:
a. a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines or a foreigner whose country has reciprocity with the Philippines in the practice of Guidance and Counseling;
b. has not been convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude by a competent court; and
c. holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling or in other allied disciplines and a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from an institution in the Philippines or abroad recognized and accredited by the CHED.

SEC. 14. Registration Without Taking Licensure Examination. – A person who possesses the pertinent qualifications required for admission in the examination for registration as a guidance counselor pursuant to the provisions of this Act may be registered without examination: Provided, That the applicant files with the Board within two (2) years after its creation, an application for registration and issuance of a Certificate of Registration and Professional Identification Card by submitting credentials showing that the applicant before the effectivity of this Act:
a. Had been doctoral and masters degree holders in Guidance and Counseling with at least three (3) years of teaching experience in Guidance and Counseling courses and/or full-time counseling practice for the same period;
b. Had passed at least eighteen (18) units of Master’s level courses in Guidance and Counseling such as Counseling Techniques/Theories, Organization and Administration of Guidance Services, Tests and Measurement, Group Process/ Counseling and Career Guidance/Counseling; and have, at least seven (7) years of experience in counseling work; and
c. Had completed academic requirements for a master’s degree in guidance and counseling and have five (5) years experience as full-time guidance counselors.

SEC. 15. Scope of Examination – The examination shall cover the following subject areas:
a. Philosophical, Psychological and Sociological Foundations of Guidance;
b. Counseling Theories, Tools and Techniques;
c. Psychological Testing;
d. Organization and Administration of Guidance Services; and
e. Group Process and Program Development.

The Board, subject to approval by the Commission, may revise or exclude any of the subjects and their syllabi, and add new ones as the need arises.
SEC. 16. Reports of Ratings. - The Board shall, within ten (10) days after the examination, report the ratings obtained by each candidate to the Commission.
SEC. 17. Ratings in the Examination and Re-examination. – To be qualified as having passed the licensure examination for guidance counselors, a candidate must have obtained a weighted general average of seventy-five percent (75%), with no grade lower than sixty percent (60%) in any given subject. However, an examinee who obtains a weighted average of seventy-five percent (75%) or higher but obtains a rating below sixty percent (60%) in any given subject, must take an examination in the subject or subjects where he obtained a grade below sixty percent (60%) within two (2) years from the date of the last examination. The subject or subjects retaken must have each a rating of no less than seventy-five percent (75%) in order to qualify as having passed the examination.

SEC. 18. Oath-Taking. – All successful examines shall be required to take a professional oath before any member of the Board or any officer of the Commission authorized by the PRC, or any officer authorized by law.
SEC. 19. Issuance of Certificate of Registration and Professional Identification Card. – A Certificate of Registration as a guidance counselor shall be issued to any applicant who passes the examination or who is registered without examination, bearing the signature of the Commission Chairperson and the Chairman and members of the Board, and the official seal of the Board.

A Professional Identification Card bearing the registration number, date of issuance, expiry date, duly signed by the Commission Chairperson, shall likewise be issued to every registrant who has paid the prescribed fee.
SEC. 20. Roster of Guidance Counselors. - The Board, in coordination with the accredited professional organization, shall keep a roster of the names, residence and office addresses of all registered and licensed guidance counselors and the said roster shall be made available to the public upon request.

SEC. 21. Integration of Guidance Counselors. – All registered/licensed guidance counselors whose names appear in the roster of guidance counselors shall be united and integrated through their automatic membership in a one (1) and only registered and accredited national organization of registered/licensed guidance counselors which the Board, subject to approval by the Commission, shall recognize and accredit after consultation with all existing organizations of registered and licensed guidance counselors and, if possible, with all those who are not members of any of the said organization. The members in the said integrated and accredited national organization shall receive benefits and privileges appurtenant thereto upon payment of required fees and dues. Membership in the Integrated organization shall not be a bar to membership in any other association of guidance counselors.

SEC. 22. Indication of Certificate of Registration Number and Professional Tax Receipts (PTR). – The guidance counselor shall be required to indicate his/her certificate of registration number, the date of issuance, the period of validity of the license, including the professional tax receipt number on the documents he/she signs, uses or issues in connection with the practice of his/her profession.

SEC. 23. Practice Through Special /Temporary Permit. – Special/temporary permit may be issued by the Board, subject to the approval of the Commission and payment of the fees the latter has prescribed and charged thereof, to the following persons:
1. Licensed guidance counselors from foreign countries/states whose services are either for a fee or free;
a. If they are internationally well-known counselors or outstanding experts in any branch or specialty of guidance and counseling; and
b. If their services are urgently and importantly necessary for lack of, or inadequacy of available local specialists/experts for the promotion or advancement of the practice of guidance and counseling through transfer of technology.

2. Licensed guidance counselors from foreign countries/states whose services shall be free and limited to indigent patients in a particular hospital, center or clinic;

3. Licensed guidance counselors from foreign countries/states employed as exchange professors in a branch or specialty of guidance and counseling in schools, colleges, universities offering the course of guidance and counseling.

The permit shall, among other things, include these limitations and conditions for a period of not more than one (1) year subject to renewal, the branch or specialty of guidance counseling, and the specific place of practice such as clinic, hospital, center, school/college/university offering the course of guidance and counseling. The Board, subject to approval by the Commission, shall prescribe rules and regulations on the implementation of this particular section.

SEC. 24. Denial, Suspension, Revocation of a Certificate of Registration, Cancellation of Special Permit. - The application for registration and the issuance of a Certificate of Registration may be denied for any of these causes:
a. Conviction of an offense involving moral turpitude by a competent court;
b. Finding of guilty by the Professional Regulatory Board for immoral and/or dishonorable conduct; and
c. Declaration by the court of the applicant as being insane.

The Certificate of Registration may be revoked or suspended, or the special permit may be cancelled for any of the above-enumerated causes including the following: fraudulent acquisition of Certificate of Registration and or special permit; abetment or tolerance of illegal practice by unqualified person through the use by the latter of guidance counselor’s certificate, or special permit; violation of any provision of this Act, rules and regulations of the Board and the Commission and other policies thereof, including the Code of Ethics and Code of Technical Standards for guidance counselors; unethical, immoral, dishonorable or unprofessional conduct; malpractice; guilty of drug or alcohol abuse impairing his/her ability to practice his/her profession; and practice of the profession during period of suspension by one whose Certificate of Registration had been suspended by the Board.

No certificate shall be denied, revoked or suspended for any of the reasons herein provided, until after sworn complaint in writing against the applicant or holder thereof shall have been filed and heard in a public hearing or upon request, behind closed doors.
SEC. 25. Reinstatement. - A person may apply to the Board for reinstatement of a certificate the issuance of which has been duly revoked at any time after the expiration of one (1) year from the date of revocation of said certificate. The application shall be in writing and shall conform to the requirements provided by the Board. No certificate shall be reinstated unless the Board is satisfied that a good cause exists to warrant such reinstatement.

SEC. 26. Appeal – The decision on the denial or refusal to issue Certificate of Registration, the revocation or suspension of the Certificate of Registration or cancellation of special permit by the Board shall be final unless appealed to the Commission within fifteen (15) days from recipe of the decision. The decision of the Board and/or Commission may be appealed to the Court of Appeals.



SEC. 27. – Prohibition Against the Practice of Guidance and Counseling. – No person shall (a) engage in the practice of guidance and counseling without a valid Certificate of Registration and a valid Professional Identification Card or a special permit; (b) make representations to the public or to third persons as a licensed guidance counselor during the time that the license has been revoked or suspended, and, (c) allow anybody to use his/her license as guidance counselor to enable such unqualified individual to engage in the practice of guidance and counseling.

No corporation, partnership, association or entity shall operate a guidance and counseling office or center, or otherwise engage in the practice of guidance and counseling without securing a permit from the Board, which shall be issued only after it has satisfied itself that such establishment is properly staffed by duly licensed guidance counselors.
Any unethical practice of guidance and counseling as may be defined in a Code of Ethics and Code of Technical Standards to be prepared by the Board in consultation with guidance counselors, is prohibited.

SEC. 28. Right to Privileged Communication for Guidance Counselors. – A certified guidance counselor who is allowed to practice guidance and counseling in accordance with this Act cannot, without the consent of the client, be examined as to any communication or information which ahs been acquired while attending to such client. The protection accorded herein shall also extend to the records and secretary or clerk of a licensed guidance counselor, who may be examined concerning any fact, the knowledge of which has been acquired in such capacity. Any evidence obtained in violation of this provision shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.

SEC. 29. Foreign Reciprocity. – No foreign guidance counselor shall be admitted to the examination, or be given a Certificate of Registration, or be entitled to any of the rights and privileges under this Act unless the country or state of which he/she is a subject or citizen permits Filipino guidance counselors to practice within its territorial limits on the same basis as the subjects or citizens of said country or state: Provided, That the requirements for certification of guidance counselors in said foreign state or country are substantially the same as those required and contemplated under this Act. Provided, further, That the laws of such state or country grant the same privilege to Filipino guidance counselors on the same basis as the subjects or citizens of such foreign state or country.


SEC. 30. Funding Provisions. – The Chairperson of the Commission shall include in the Commission’s programs the implementation of this Act. The funding of which shall be included in the General Appropriations Act.

SEC. 31. Assistance of Law Enforcement Agency. – Any law enforcement agency shall, upon call or request of the Commission or the Board, render assistance in enforcing this Act, including all the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder by prosecuting the violators thereof in accordance with law and the Rules of Court.

SEC. 32. Implementing Rules and Regulations. – Within sixty (60) days after the effectivity of this Act, subject to the approval of the Commission, the Board shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations, in coordination with the integrated and accredited professional organization, to implement the provisions of this Act, which shall be effective after fifteen (15) days following its publication in the Official Gazette or newspaper of general circulation.

SEC. 33. Penalty Clause. – Any person who violates any provision of this Act and the rules and regulations issued by the Board and the Commission or commits fraud in the acquisition of Certificate of Registration or special permit, shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than six (6) months but not more than eight (8) years, or a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) but not more than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or both in the discretion of the court.

SEC. 34. Separability Clause. – If any of this Act is declared unconstitutional, the remaining parts not affected thereby shall continue to be valid and operational.

SEC. 35. Repealing Clause. – All laws, decrees, orders, circulars, rules and regulations and other issuances which are inconsistent with this Act, are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly.

SEC. 36. Effectivity. – This Act take effect one (1) month after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines.


President of the Senate Speaker of the House of the Representatives

This Act, which is a consolidation of House Bill No. 5253 and Senate Bill No. 2128, was finally passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on January 20, 2004 and January 19, 2004, respectively.

Secretary of the Senate Secretary General House of Representatives

Approved: Mar. 02 2004

President of the Philippines

PRBGC Updates: Licensure Requirements

Last night, February 27, 2007, we the forerunners: forefather and foremothers of IPCAP (Integrated Professional Counselors Association of the Philippines) met as scheduled. The first on the agenda was on licensure requirements. The Professional Regulatory Board of Guidance & Counseling (PRBGC) deliberated at PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) the requirements for licensing the Grandfather’s Clause, i.e., what is stipulated under Section 14 of RA 9258 which reads (and I quote here in toto):

SEC. 14. Registration Without Taking Licensure Examination. – A person
who possesses the pertinent qualifications required for admission in
the examination for registration as a Guidance Counselor pursuant to the
provisions of this Act may be registered without examination: Provided,
That the applicant files with the Board within two (2) years after its creation,
an application for registration and issuance of a Certificate of Registration and
Professional Identification Card by submitting credentials showing that the
applicant before the effectivity of this Act:
a) Had been doctoral and masters degree holders in Guidance and Counseling with at least three (3) years of teaching experience in Guidance and Counseling courses and/or full-time counseling practice for the same period;
b) Had passed at least eighteen (18) units of Master’s level courses in Guidance and Counseling such as Counseling Techniques/Theories, Organization and Administration of Guidance Services, Tests and Measurement, Group Process/ Counseling and Career Guidance/Counseling; and have, at least seven (7) years of experience in counseling work; and
c) Had completed academic requirements for a master’s degree in guidance and counseling and have five (5) years experience as full-time guidance counselors.

Hence, the following are the requirements further stipulated:

1. P1,950.00 registration fee. The license to be awarded is, like most professional licenses, good for three years. This may reduce the economic advantages of those in the habit of producing fake licenses as well as the fixers around PRC. Having a license good for three years is actually convenient for the professional, both those living in the urban and rural settings.

2. Certificate/s of Good Moral Character from one’s employer/s for the past seven years work as Counselor. This/these certificate/s are to be submitted to PGCA National Office who shall issue a certificate of active membership, i.e., having participated actively in PGCA activities, at least once a year. The Official Receipt for being a member of PGCA shall serve as evidence of one’s membership with PGCA, the Accredited Professional Organization. The latter may be true for new members, hence they should keep their official receipt and/or deposit slip of the latest payment, particularly for 2007. For those residing in the provinces, they may submit this/these document/s to the Local Chapter of PGCA which shall then send them in bulk to the National Office of PGCA who shall issue the certificate of active membership to applicants.

3. NBI clearance for both Counselors working in the private and government sectors. The clearance required is that which is issued for local purposes, not migration or international. It should be easy to get this since every local government has an NBI branch all over the country. In Quezon City, such clearance can be had within two hours.

4. Certificate of Clearance from the Ombudsman – only for Counselors working in the government sector.

5. Birth Certificate – from the NSO. The photocopy can be submitted but the original copy should be made immediately available.

6. Transcript of Records (TOR) – both undergraduate and graduate. A certified true photocopy of this document may be submitted, provided that the original be immediately available upon application. For schools that don’t issue original copies of the TOR, a certified true copy should suffice, and a photocopy of this document may be submitted provided that the original certified true copy is made immediately available when requested upon application.

7. 2 x 2 ID, recent, colored, with white background (recent is within the last 6 months)
Certificate of Employment or Service Record of seven years’ experience.

8. PRC Form for Application to have the license under the Grandfather's Clause. (Those who will take the 1st and succeeding Board Exams shall need to fill this Form at the appropriate time.)

Note that the Certificate of Good Moral Character should first be submitted to PGCA for certification of active membership, as well as verification. Hence, if one has paid one's membership fee of P500, a copy of the OR or the bank deposit slip should also be included together with the Certificate/s of Good Moral Character. PGCA as APO is tasked with enforcing the Code of Ethics of our Counseling practice. The PGCA address given by its current President Dr. Rosa Ma. Llanes is: #2 Diamond St., UP Professors Village, Tandang Sora, Quezon City

As to the dates when these applications should be made:

March 19, 2007 – start of filing for the application for licensure under the Grandfather’s Clause. Application should be done personally at the PRC. Bring all required documents.

March 22– May 22, 2007: the time PRB evaluates submitted applications and documents

May 23, 2007: License release date for those approved under the Grandfather’s Clause. Schools will then have knowledge if one’s school Counselors are licensed or not. Under RA9258, no Counselor shall practice without the license.

Oct. 29 – Nov. 29, 2007: period for application for the first batch to take the Board Exam.

Dec. 8, 2007: Schedule for 1st Licensure Exams in Guidance and Counseling

Dec. 16, 2007: Release of results

I shall be downloading the following documents on this blog for everyone to have a first-hand look at them: The Guidance & Counseling Act of 2004 otherwise known as RA9258, its Implementing Rules & Regulations (or IRR), the Code of Ethics, and the 2nd Revision of the Standards of Good Practice. PGCA has been roaming around the country to have the last three ratified by all Counselors who went to its meetings. I have myself attended two of these related activies: one at FEU and another at Adamson University. Those of us at IPCAP have been directed to do our part to disseminate the information so that those affected may get reliable information. Hence, please pass the word around, and if you have any inquiries, feel free to communicate to me through my gmail account since my yahoo account has been taking forever this afternoon to open. My new email address is

So long. God bless

Monday, February 26, 2007

Emails for the participants

As I promised at the Convention, I downloaded the Keynote Address of Dr. Timbreza on this blog. Likewise, after typing the emails of those who wanted it emailed to them, I did email the Keynote to them. However, there were certain email addresses that were identified as non-existent or have expired. If ever you know of someone who attended the Convention and has yet to receive an email from me, please let the person email me to so that I can reply from there. At least, that assures me that the address is "alive" since I had just received one from that email. Okey? One of my friends had just told me that my yahoo account may be full, making her large load bounce back to her. Am sorry about this. Hope this gmail account will spare me the space for more.

In the meantime, we are reconstructing the Directory of PACERS 31st Annual Convention Participants. Once that is finished, I shall immediately email it to everyone who has email addresses.

As regards the powerpoint presentations, I shall bedoing that within the week. Just give me time to address those tasks I left behind for the Convention. You should have it before the week ends. God bless

Sunday, February 25, 2007

New PACERS Board for 2007-2008

PACERS members had its elections for the PACERS Board of Directors for the year 2007-2008. After the second day of the Convention, those elected came together and elected among themselves the new Board of Directors for the year. Here are the results of those elections:

Chair: Dr. Julian Montano
Vice-Chair: Dr. Susan Estanislao
Corporate Secretary: Dr. Susie Eala
Executive Council
President: Fr. Bernardo R. Collera, SVD
Vice-President: Fr. Francis Bustamante, SJ
Secretary: Dr. Leo Capeding
Treasurer: Liza Suarez
Auditor: Dr. Ruffy Ramos III
Member: Dr. Benedicta Lascano

Congratulations to the new Board, albeit most of them are old faces from 2006-2007, with Dr. Leo Capeding the newest member, although he is actually a veteran, having been with previous Boards of previous years.

Our next activities include a meeting on March 6, 2007 and Planning Workshop come May 4-6, 2007 at Punta Fuego Beach Resort. That looks really enticing! After giving our all for the previous activities, such a trip of work and fun should be well-deserved! Again, congratulations! Maybe we can have our Oath-taking there before we embark into our planning. I remember last year we had our oath-taking in the Garden of the La salle Brothers' house in Tagaytay. This time, expect a beach at the background! It really pays to be young (and once young too)! Kudos!!!

31st Annual Convention A Success

Yes, our PACERS 31st Annual Convention was a success. More than 120 came and participated in the 2 and a half day event that tackled the theme: "Relationships at Risk: issues and Interventions." We had three panel discussions, one in the first afternoon, and two the next morning. The areas of relationships tackled were those of the home (marital or couple relationships, parent-child, and sibling & extended family members), corporate setting (employer-employee, management and stockholders) and school organizations (teacher-student, adviser and members in student organizations, as well as administration and personnel). All invited speakers came ready with their powerpoint presentations that aided a lot in their presentation as well as for the participants to actively engage themselves in those highly educational and enlightening presentations. Congratulations to the speakers.

In the afternoon of the second day, we had eight poster presentations, and one video presentation of the CISD experience of one of the PACERS Board during the aftermath of the Reming typhoon in Bicol. After this, the poster presentors were awarded certificates of appreciation for generously sharing their research outputs by way of poster presentation. Then came the paper presentations. Six paper presentors were distributed into three function rooms. and boy, they were jampacked! My student-seminarians I invited to attend, and they did come and learned! Again, thanks to the paper presentors. Even if there was no financial remuneration, as one commented, "it was a great opportunity to share what we have found through our researches." This event may actually be in line with one of Urie Bronfenbrenner's principles, that of communicating his research findings through educational settings like we had in this Convention. This is one of the more interesting events during the Convention. Hence, if this may already be stated here: all counselors are invited to share their research outputs in the coming Conventions. We usually don't do that during the midyear, since all we have then are workshops.

Yes, that was the third day's events. We had three workshops on three areas of counseling practice: the corporate setting, the home, and family/marital counseling. One tackled on Promoting Wellness among employees in a corporate setting. The workshop on relationships at home tackled on Verbal Abuse (of course usually by adults, parents on their children) and some guidelines how to handle such counseling cases. How to handle marital conflicts, including jealousy and infidelity was the focal issues in the third workshop. All three workshops were four hours long, and were presented twice during the day: once in the morning, and once in the afternoon. Participants could attend two out of three workshops.

Looking back, I realize that the workshops were particularly interesting, that maybe it can be replicated in another forum other than the midyear. PACERS also opens itself for regional events. We had once in San Pablo where San Pablo Colleges requested PACERS to run its workshops there and participants from nearby provinces and other schools came. If you have this suggestion, please feel free to communicate to us. Our email addresses are mentioned in the blogs before this. Let us know your thoughts and we can talk about it.

PACERS 31st Annual Convention Keynote Address

In the succeeding blog entries, I shall be taling about our 31st Annual Convention which was, thank God, well attended! Thank you very much colleagues for coming and attending the Convention. Your presence made me feel that all my efforts to promote it here in this blog, plus the emails and letters were all worth it. Hence, in gratitude to everyone, and as agreed, here now is the Keynote Address of Dr. Florentino T. Timbreza:

Philosophy of Relationship

Florentino T. Timbreza, Ph.D.
De La Salle University
Christ the King Mission Seminary

One perceptive writer once said: “If you want to be cured of your illness, consult a medical doctor; if you want to unburden yourself, be enlightened and be relieved of your personal problem, seek the help of a guidance counselor; but, if you want to get more confused and disturbed about the nature of life, talk to a philosopher.”

This anecdote immediately came to mind when Fr. Bernard asked me to give the Keynote Speech in this Convention of distinguished and respectable counselors of the Philippines. My instant reaction then, of course, was: “Father, why me, what would you expect a philosopher to tell our well-trained and seasoned counselors? It should be the other way around; the counselor should instead give the counsel and guidance to the philosopher, insofar as it’s he who is more confused and perplexed about life.”

Fr. Bernard has assured me, however, that it would be all right because counselors, professionally trained as such, are very interested to find out the reasons why philosophers are intellectually confused and disturbed. He told me to share my thoughts on relationships from a philosophical-sociological perspective.

And so, being a very obliging penitent, I have accepted Fr. Bernard’s invitation as penance for whatever acts of omission I may have had in my conjugal relationship:
mea culpa, Padre.

I do hope I will measure up to your expectations and that, after my discourse, all of us will be enlightened rather than be more confused and disturbed about the topic.

We shall deal with the philosophy of relationship in the following order: (1) the nature of relationship – wherein its value in all life situations will be pointed out; (2) morality in relationship – where it shall be stressed that without morality, no social unit or human relationship can long endure; (3) ethical principles – where it will be shown that the necessity and observance of ethical precepts (be they written or unwritten) will guarantee a lifelong relationship; and (4) the conclusion – where we shall draw relevant implications of our discourse to the theme of this seminar.

Nature of Relationship
Everyone to begin with, is conceived within a relationship and born out of a relationship – a human relationship, particularly the relationship between husband and wife, between male and female. It goes without saying then that relationship begins in conception, insofar as no one can ever exist without conjugal relationship. And following conception, one is born again out of a marital relationship.

(The exception, of course, is the case of a test tube baby that is fertilized in vitro without the benefit of orgasm, hence, strictly speaking, outside of any form of relationship.)

Then at birth a ramification of various relationships will begin: a newborn baby is a child in relation to its parents and vice versa: a boy is a brother in relation to his sister or a brother and vice-versa; a daughter is a cousin in relation to her uncle’s or auntie’s children and vice versa; one is a playmate in relation to other players, a classmate in relation to other pupils or students, a co-worker in relation to fellow workers, a girlfriend in relation to a boyfriend.

Then the cycle of relationship begins anew: a male is a bridegroom in relation to his bride; a wife in relation to her husband, a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law in relation to their parents-in-law, and so forth and so on.

This fact alone confirms that in everything we are, there is contained a relationship to our fellowmen, and this relationship can nowhere be thought away from life. A college instructor or university professor who delivers his lectures, a student who recites in class, an employee who works in an office, a mother who prepares the meal for her family, a husband or wife who attends to the psychological needs of his/her spouse, a jeepney or bus driver who drives his passengers to their destinations, a physician who treats his patient, and a priest who offers the spiritual needs of his parishioners – are all doing things for others, and for this reason their activity is essentially relational.

We, therefore, call “relational” everything that is concerned with fellowship, the togetherness of human beings. And the invitation to this relational, reciprocal engagement of personalities happens more readily between parents and their children, between teachers and students, between teachers among teachers themselves, between lawyers and their clients, between doctors and nurses, between physicians and patients, between employers and employees, between two friends, and even between counselors and their clients.

The foregoing fact of relational existence means that human life is not the possession of an individual taken by and for himself. Man is not just a collection of separate individuals that come together in accidental groupings in order to satisfy their common needs: money, fame, education, or perhaps, popularity or social recognition.

Man is essentially a community, “a community of persons in relation,” and he exists meaningfully only insofar as genuine community or togetherness is not a dream but a concrete reality. He is essentially with others, and he can become truly himself only if he recognizes that others also exist and allows their existence to influence his life and actions. Man, in short, is being-with-others.

In other words, life, society, and the world relate us existentially to one another. We are living a shared life in a shared society within a shared world. In this dimension of a common life in a common world, we realize that human life is more meaningful and worth living only in the presence of others, with the help of others, in communion with others, and for the benefit of others. Furthermore, over and above all this, being with others is the focal point of human values. We enter into the human realm of values through our interaction with our fellowmen. Through this encounter the world becomes meaningful and accessible to us. If only for this reason, togetherness or being-with-others is a conditio sine qua non for any form of a genuinely human life, for life becomes more fully human only in the presence of others.

It is through others that the world becomes intelligible to us. Thus, we need other people not only because we all find access to the constituted world of values through our encounter with them, but also especially because the encounter with others is a value in itself, that is, a polarizing point of our world of values.
Kailangan natin ang ating kapwa upang maging lalong maging makabuluhan ang ating buhay at pagkatao.

For instance, we do not only need the services of others but we need these others themselves. This is precisely because we are first and foremost one another’s fulfillment in life. Without the other, another person who takes account of me and for whom my free response means a value, I cannot meaningfully live.

The humanist principle of authentic relationship states: “I can be myself only in your presence. But if I need you in order to be myself, you likewise need me. Each of us holds each ‘personhood’ as a gift from the other, so that to betray the other is always to betray oneself.”

Relational existence or being-with-others, then, is the fundamental value of our being truly human, and within this “with-ness” or togetherness all other values can assert themselves. Put differently, within the context of being-together we can unfold new dimensions of human meanings. For instance, man’s triumph in space travel is not the ingenuity of a single individual alone, just as a sophisticated efflorescence of information technology is not the monopoly of only one person.

The teacher or educator believes in his profession but also needs the appreciation of others (in fact, he is who he is relation to his students). A person of authority needs to be affirmed by others in order to be able to believe in himself. And people who find no appreciation at all during their lifetime usually suffer greatly from the neglect of their fellowmen, and their lives often end in tragedies.

This shows that while man seeks many values he can find these values meaningful only in his being-together-with his fellowmen. Shared joy becomes a double joy; shared sorrow and suffering become more bearable through the other’s participation, just as shared responsibility makes itself more interesting and enjoyable.

And life becomes more attractive, worth living, and worth sharing, for a man and a woman, a husband and a wife, when they find each other in mutual love and respect. Their togetherness is not merely another super-added joy but a new light that illuminates all values in the world.
Clearly enough, the richest and highest of everything we find in the world is the other human being. And love as well as sincere regard for each other is the soil in which the other and I can grow. This love for one another however, is never a finished fact; it is always a continuing task of everyone in all relationships as well as in all communities.

And in every community, school community or world community, men are usually situated in a state of trial, suspicion, and alienation. Disunity, indifference, and despair are only too possible. It is precisely in relation to this possible situation of despair, to this temptation of disunity, that we can define love for each other as the act by which this temptation can be actively overcome. In a genuine relationship with our fellowmen, we fill each other’s life with existential meaning and fulfillment. On the other hand, when our relationship degenerates, we regard one another as usable goods. Man will then be reduced to the level of usefulness.

And when we use one another as means and instruments for our own advancements and popularity, we reduce ourselves into mere objects and things, rather than responsible persons with human dignity. It is in this context that we can appreciate the value of morality in any given relationship. For without morality no human relationship will last long.

Morality and Relationship

Being gifted with the power of reason, man alone has sense of right and wrong; hence, only man has morality. Morality makes a human being act as a human being and its lack of it makes an animal act as an animal. It is in this context that morality is considered as a blessing as well as a curse to an individual; a blessing, insofar as a human being alone is moral and so one ought to behave or act morally; a curse, because if one fails to act morally, one becomes less human and even worse than a beast that has no morality.

This truism must have prompted John Stuart Mill to say: “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be a Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.” The point here is that a human being has a sense of propriety, which a pig does not have. A fool enjoys being foolish and asinine while a Socrates exalts a decent life that is worth living. The big difference makes a person rational and moral.

Filipinos aptly put it thus: “Madali ang maging tao, pero mahirap ang magpakatao” (“It’s easy to be born a man, but it is hard to be truly human”). For, to become truly human is to be moral, and so a person who loses his morality also loses his humanity.
Sinumang salat sa moralidad ay salat sa tunay na pagkatao.

Now, the immeasurable value of morality finds itself in human relationships, insofar as the human being is a social individual who lives with other individuals. Hence, without morality no social unit or human relationship can ever survive or long endure.

We can better appreciate this point with illustrations. In a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, for instance, the boy as a male relates with the girl as a female. In the family, an individual member lives, eats, plays, and sleeps with the other family members. In the school, an individual is a student who plays, studies, and makes friends with other students. In the state, an individual is a citizen who exists, lives, works, and associates with fellow citizen.

These basic human relationships bring with them certain obligations or duties and rights which are necessary not only to maintain harmonious and well-ordered relations between sweethearts, among the family members, the students, and citizens but also for their own survival.

Such obligations and rights, be they written or unwritten, constitutes morality, a group’s or community’s code of behavior, or in some ways, its system of values by which the members are supposed to behave or ought to treat themselves and relate to one another. This system of values is sometimes referred to as a group morality or ethics, without which the group as such will perish.

A reflection on the aforesaid relationships will reveal the preeminence of morality in every relational situation. The boyfriend ought to respect the girlfriend’s rights and the latter should likewise regard her boyfriend’s rights not only as human beings with dignity and freedom but also as sweethearts along with certain precepts of do’s and don’t’s. It is thus their duty to respect each other’s rights.

Any deliberate infraction of one’s duty to respect the other’s rights in the context of the relationship will definitely destroy the love affair itself; hence, it will just die a natural death, so to speak. On the contrary, the mutual observance of each other’s duties and mutual respect for each other’s rights will be an affirmation of the moral value of the relationship. And it is for this reason alone that the relationship will last.

Likewise, in the family, the father-daughter relationship is characterized by the duty-right correlates, hence a very important moral value to reckon with. It is the father’s moral duty to respect his daughter’s rights not only as a human being, but most of all, as a daughter, the flesh of his flesh and the bone of his bone. In like manner, the daughter is morally obliged to respect her father’s rights as a father. Any violation of this mutual duty to respect one’s one’s own rights between them will give rise to the much-talked-about heinous crime of the day, namely, incestuous rape.

The same holds true for a husband-wife relationship in which both have the mutual obligation to respect each other’s rights in order to preserve a happy, orderly, and lasting family relations. Any breach or violation of one’s duty to the other in the conjugal relationship will cause the loss of one’s trust in, and respect for, the other, thereby resulting in a shattered family or a broken home. (And it is said that the worst failure is family failure and the most painful misfortune is the one that results from a broken home.)

We can also extend this to other relationships, such as employer-employee, teacher-student, priest-parishioner, manager-secretary, doctor-nurse, dentist-client, lawyer-client, and physician-patient relationships. Here the observance and fulfillment of the duty-right correlates is the basis of justice and propriety in the relationship, whereas its violation will result in injustice.

Thus morality is deemed to be necessary and important in every relationship, for unless the respective duties and rights in the relationship are observed, the conduct of service or medical treatment in a physician-patient relationship, for instance, would just be mechanical and perfunctory, and at times, unfair and even inhuman as in the case of medical malpractice.

Ethical Principles

If only for this reason, moral philosophers or ethicists have conceived of ethical principles, which serve as moral guidelines in our dealings with others. If followed and observed, these precepts would humanize the relational dimension of any given relationships. For our purpose, let us consult two moral philosophers for their wisdom and guidance: Immanuel Kant, a brilliant German thinker and Martin Buber, an equally famous German philosopher of dialogue.
First, we shall reflect on Kant’s Principle of Justice: “Always act so as to treat humanity, either yourself or others, as an end and never as only a means.”

According to Kant, every every individual must be counted as a being of equal value. Bawat tao ay may dignidad. Irrespective of one’s gender, race, creed, social or financial status, no one should be discriminated against. Rationality, in Kant’s view, confers upon every person an intrinsic worth and human dignity. Every human being, therefore, because he/she is a rational creature, has an inherent value and dignity, which is not determined by one’s profession or station in life, upbringing, material possessions, or financial capability.

In this light, to treat others as an end means to respect their rights and regard them as fellow human beings with dignity and freedom (and that makes our act morally good and just). To treat others as a means, on the other hand, is to use them for one’s own personal interest, to degrade them and violate their rights, and to take advantage of their innocence or helplessness (which makes it morally bad and unjust). This, for Kant, is the essence of justice.

Put in the context of a husband-wife relationship, they treat each other as ends whenever they fulfill their duties to each other and respect each other’s rights with love and understanding. Whereas they treat each other as a means whenever their conjugal rights are violated; whenever they are remiss in their connubial duties, and their relationship is tainted with distrust, lying, suspicion, fear, treachery, and betrayal; in which case, they are simply using each other for one’s personal benefits at the expense of an authentic relationship.

All cases in which one acts inhumanly against another person are ways in which others are treated as only a means, hence, for Kant, they are morally wrong. Underpaying and short-changing one’s employees, taking advantage of their ignorance, cheating them in their benefits, not paying their salaries on time, maltreating one’s house maids, executing torture and brutality, and besmirching another person’s reputation for personal gain are all illustrations of using others as a means for our own selfish ends.

We can readily perceive here the risks involved in any given relationship whenever people use each other as only a means rather than as an end. In such a situation, the relationship ceases to be a value in itself; instead, it becomes an instrument for people in relation to use each other for one’s own interest. Inevitably, critical problems will threaten the relationship, which counselors are well aware of.

“I-it and I-Thou” Relationships

Martin Buber defines two types of relationships: I-it and I-thou. The “I-it” relationship describes a person’s relationship with things, objects, or an “it”; hence, an “I-it” or man-object, or subject-object relationship. This kind of relationship is determined by our attitude to what is other than ourselves.

For instance, my relationship with my books, computer, car, eyeglasses, shoes, clothes, and other possessions typify the “It-it,” man-thing, or subject-object relationships. Insofar as these things are my possessions or personal properties, I can use, misuse, overuse, and manipulate them the way I want for my own purposes or ends.

The “I-thou” relationship, on the other hand, delineates our relationship with other persons, like ourselves, other “I’s,” thou’s,” or you’s; hence, “I-thou”, or “I-I”, subject–subject, person-person relationships. Insofar as the other person is a fellow human being, a thou, or someone with dignity and a moral quality of his/her own, I cannot manipulate or use him/her without degrading or dehumanizing him/her at the same time. For persons, like myself, are not things or objects, which are usable and “manipulable” or “tamperable” by other persons.

According to Buber, in an “I-thou” relationship, man finds himself an I in relation to another I. For instance, the Thou (or the other I) and I are inseperable. I do realize myself better in my response to the other, a you, i.e., another person. And the world acquires a different and richer meaning for me because of the other I. For only the other’s response makes me be. In and through our being-related-to-each-other, we realize and fulfill ourselves together. We acquire selfhood.

In Filipino thought, we can say
Kailangan mo ako upang ikaw ay maging ganap na ikaw. Kailangan din kita upang ako’y maging ganap na ako.

The relationship brings me closer to myself and enriches my whole being. I become better aware of myself, my value or self-esteem, and my responsibility, not only to myself, but to the others as well. We actualize ourselves mutually in the relationship – by being reciprocally related to each other – in such a way that the other is himself (herself) in relation to myself, just as I am myself precisely in relation to him (her).

Now, the husband-wife, physician-patient, teacher-student, parents-children (mother-son, father-daughter), boyfriend-girlfriend, lawyer-client, employer-employee, manager-secretary, priest-parishioner, and friend-friend relationships exemplify an “I-thou” or person-person relationship, inasmuch as both parties in relation are persons, both are “I’s” or human beings. This type of relationship is a moral experience because persons can respond; that is they are responsible. Unlike things or objects, they can say “yes” or “no”, and they can make decisions. In short, they have duties and rights, especially the right to say “yes” or “no” in response to any course of action such as, for instance, the right to self-determination, the right to be themselves, the right to choose to be a “you” rather than an “it” or object.

If and when the duty-right correlates in a given relationship (e.g., husband-wife, or physician-patient, etc.) are not observed, where one does not respect but violates the rights of the other in the context of the relationship, one would just be treating the other as an “it” or a mere “thing”, rather than as an “I” or another fellow human being.

In such a situation, the other loses his/her selfhood or self-esteem and is reduced to the level of things that can be used, misused, and overused for one’s own ends. This, for Buber, is the worst kind of dehumanization or degradation of a fellow human being, which is otherwise known as “man’s inhumanity to man.”

Thus, any act of betrayal, treachery, cheating, dishonesty, infidelity, exploitation, oppression, and sexploitation committed by a person against another in a given relationship best exemplifies Buber’s “I-it” relationship in which the other is treated as an “it” or a “thing” rather than as a person.

It should be clear by now that Buber’s insight finds parallelisms in Kant’s principle of justice. The “I-thou” relationship corresponds to the act of treating the other as an end (as a human being with dignity and freedom), while the “I-it” relationship is essentially related to the act of treating the other as only a means (violating his/her rights and encroaching upon one’s autonomy or self-determination).


We can infer three kinds of relationship from our discourse, wherein we can situate or put into context the twofold ethical principles that we have discussed above, namely: (1) the relationship of utility or benefit; (2) the relationship of pleasure, and (3) the relationship of goodness.

The relationship of utility or profit is one that is based on the personal benefit that one can profit from the relationship. The relationship is used as an instrument of profit, hence the name. And the relationship will last as long as the reason for its being exists; that is, as long as the relationship remains profitable for both parties in relation. In other words, a relationship based on utility or profit is dissolved as soon as the advantage comes to an end, for in it there is no love for the person, but only a love of profit. Parties in this relationship do not delight in one another except to gain something thereby.

The relationship of pleasure, as the term suggests, is the relationship of pleasure-seekers. Likewise, this relationship endures as long as the people in relation derive pleasure from it. The relationship is also taken as a means for one’s ulterior motive. And the parties in relation regard each other as objects of pleasure, and they remain attractive and desirable to each other for as long as one stays as sweet and pleasing to the other.

On the other hand, the relationship of goodness is based on the good intention of good persons for the good of each other in the relationship. Thus, the relationship is regarded as a value in itself in which the parties wish the good of each other for each other’s sake. The relationship is based on virtue or goodness, and as long as the persons’ goodness to each other remains, their relationship will last, insofar as goodness is a permanent quality (unlike profit, power, and pleasure, which are only temporary).

In the context of Kant’s principle of justice, partners in the relationship of profit surreptitiously use each other only as a means rather than as an end. The relationship degenerates to the level of usefulness where they regard each other as usable gadgets, spare parts, or commodities. And when we use one another as means and instruments for our own advancement and popularity, we reduce ourselves into mere things or objects, rather than responsible persons with human dignity.

Likewise, this is what actually happens in an “I-it” relationship, according to Martin Buber, where the parties in both the relationships of profit and of pleasure treat each other as “its”, “objects” and “things” that can be used, abused, misused, and overused for one’s own pleasure and advantage.

We can at once see here the risks and critical issues that undermine a genuine human relationship. If and when persons in relations (husband-wife, boyfriend-girlfriend, parent-child, teacher-student, doctor-patient, boss-secretary, employer-employee, etc) deal with one another as objects or robots, things, or merchandise to be used and abused, to be taken advantage of, degraded, humiliated, and manipulated for one’s own selfish motives, then the relationship becomes inhuman and critical problems will inevitably arise.

This confirms once again the value of morality in relationships. Unless the duty-right correlates are observed, no authentic relationship will last long. For whenever parties in relation no longer respect each other’s rights, then they cease to regard each other as persons and simply become means or instruments for each other’s use and advantage. This is the common cause of the risks and problems of human relationships.

A relationship based on goodness, on the other hand, best illustrates Kant’s concept of justice in which the parties in relation regard each other as ends with all due respect to each other’s rights and dignity as human beings. It also embodies Martin Buber’s concept of an “I-thou” relationship wherein we regard ourselves as fellow humans, respecting each other’s rights and dignity.

In this kind of relationship, we affirm and confirm each other’s presence and individuality by giving recognition to, and regard for, what-we-really-are. We become aware of the value of one to the other. We become fully human, fully ourselves. We enrich our whole being in and through the relationship. We attain mutual self-understanding and self-fulfillment.

Thus a relationship of goodness makes common life in a common world more meaningful, more humane, and more worth living. It makes us realize that human existence is not only an existence through the others, but an existence for one another as well. In short, through a relationship of goodness we discover that “without other human beings we are nothing and life has no meaning at all.”

And so, to the advocates of the relationship of profit, power, and pleasure, let this be said: Wealth and power come and go, and sex weakens over the years and finally vanishes in time. Whereas the sense of self-fulfillment that one derives from a relationship of goodness will last for a lifetime.

To conclude, let me share with you the brilliant words of Martin Buber:
Trust, trust in the world because this human being exists – that is the most inward achievement of the relation in education. Because this human being exists, meaninglessness, however hard pressed you are by it, cannot be the real truth. Because this human being exists, in the darkness, the light lies hidden in fear, salvation, and in the callousness of one’s fellowmen the Great Love.

Buber’s wisdom becomes more inspiring and reassuring in Filipino experience:
Manalig ka’t magtiwala sa daigdig sapagkat nariyan ang iyong

kapwa-Filipino – ‘yan ang natatanging katuparan ng pakikipag-ugnayan
sa larangan ng edukasyon. Sapagkat nariyan ang iyong kapwa-Filipino,
kahit naghihikahos ka man, ang kawalang-kabuluhan ng buhay ay hindi
kailanman magiging isang katotohanan. Sapagkat ang iyong kapwa-Filipino, sa lingid ng pusikit na karimlan ay may napipintong liwanag, sa tingib ng pangamba’y may kaligtasan, at sa gitna ng kawalang-pakiramdam ng ibang mga tao maghahari pa rin ang Dakilang Pag-ibig.

Maraming salamat po sa inyong pakikinig, Mabuhay ang mahusay at magaling na pamunuan ng PACERS, Mabuhay tayong lahat! Magandang hapon!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

February 21 is ASH WEDNESDAY

This morning, as I was reading some materials my students gave me for their research, I received a text message asking me if I was available to celebrate Ash Wednesday with them. Before I could reply, I felt shocked. My God! That's the beginning of our PACERS 31st Annual Convention! I immediately did a text brigade to all the Board members for their comments. Here are some of their replies:

We only have snacks prepared for the first afternoon since registration begins at 11AM.

Maybe we can have a Mass padre? Pwede ba kayong maglagay ng ash? (Ako pa?! - my comment haha)

That's a good observation...This serves as a reminder to Christians of LENT.

What was striking for me was this comment: Tama ka. But how can we respect the free will of the person? Maybe not all are fasting.

Maybe we will decide on this so what must be done can be done. If you have any suggestion, we shall consider them well. But let it be known now that as we begin our Convention, Lent is upon us. The 40 days we spend is the time to look unto ourselves, what Alfred Binet said about intelligence: "" That's our journey in our life of conversion.

As a Catholic priest, and missionary at that, I am preparing myself for the possibility of having an afternoon Mass after the first Panel Discussion session. Maybe we can coordinate with the hotel for the place if that were fine with them. The thought that many among us may be rushing out after the afternoon session to the nearest parish for our ashes made me think of opting for that so we get the most of our chances here in this Convention.

It's also possible that some among us may also have had it before coming to the Convention. I may be one of them in fact because of my ministry. Those who do so would then not need to rush for their ashes. And there may be non-Christians among us. Also the non-Catholics.

In my telephone discussions with some members of the Board, the possibility of having a Mass seems apt. I have asked our Treasurer to coordinate with the hotel about it. It can be that they have a chapel there where the Mass can be held. Or maybe we can be extended the time to use our plenary venue for the Eucharist and the Ash giving, that is if no one else is scheduled to use that venue, inviting the hotel personnel to come and attend it for their "ash needs." If that were to materialize, I shall be bringing along my Mass kit. Whatever develops along this matter, I shall be posting more on this blog.

Yes, some of us may be asking about Ash Wednesday being a day of fasting. Fasting according to our practice is ONE FULL MEAL sans meat on that day. Of course there is possibility to adapt this to the situation of the Catholic, hence, we can have a full lunch (or maybe breakfast, or supper, whichever is chosen), and the rest of the meals as light as in water only or even juice only. While fasting is encouraged as a private event (remember Jesus saying that in Scriptures?) in the Catholic Church we are all invited to fast as a faith community. We start it by having the ashes painted in our forehead. The second obligatory fasting day other than Ash Wednesday is the day Our Lord died: Good Friday. So I think we can still fulfill this obligation even if we have our Convention. Those who may want to abstain from their snacks may opt to give it to someone outside who's had no meal yet. Yes, the Treasurer is to tell the hotel that our snacks are not to have meat.

Nonetheless, the schedule for that afternoon after the panel discussion on relationships at home says PACERS members are to meet. Let's see what we can do about it. I hope to post here our decision on this matter. Nevertheless, whatever your thoughts are, just email me or text me or call if you need to be really heard. I shall be considering your suggestions very much. Let's pray for one another on that day. God bless

Monday, February 12, 2007

Counseling Psychology in the Philippines: PACERS 31st Annual Convention announced in Manila Bulletin

PACERS 31st Annual Convention announced in Manila Bulletin

Yes, I got word that yesterday, Feb. 11, 2007, my confrere Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD mentioned our PACERS Annual Convention in his column Word Alive. Click on the link and you will be brought to the column he wrote in Manila Bulletin where he regularly writes. I was told that this is now the second publication of our Convention for the year 2007. Last year he also did that for our Midyear in Bohol.

Interestingly, the announcement was mentioned in his column where Fr. Bel wrote about Our Lady of Lourdes. He mentioned there a story about a man who just arrived from Lourdes, and at the airport immigration area, he was asked what was inside one of his boxes. "Bottles of water from Lourdes," he said. But when the inspector opened it, he exclaimed to the man "But these are bottles of wine." The man then exclaimed back: "Wow, this one is again one of the miracles of Lourdes: water changed into wine." For all you know, your attendance at our Convention may yet make you experience one of the miracles we all want to experience: healing in our relationships, knowing about its intricacies, and approaches how to handle these matters in our clients, and yes, even in our lives. Who knows? Maybe the announcement was timed with the celebrations we're into these days - Our Lady of Lourdes - if only to tell us that indeed, God is part and parcel of any development/improvement in our relationships. May she always intercede for us in our Counseling practice.

If you haven't received the invitation letter yet and would like to have it faxed so you can attend the Annual Convention, you may email DocSusan Estanislao or Ms. Liza Suarez Liza Suarez If there is anything I can be of help to you about the Convention, please feel free to email me about it too. I've been receiving emails and questions already, and it has become a habit these days running up to the Convention. It's my privilege to be of service to you. God bless

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Dr. Aguilan's Book & Call for publications

When I wrote the blog before this one this afternoon, I couldn't wait for the reply to my text message to her inquiring about the title of the book Dr. Aguilan would like to bring along as she participates in the 31st PACERS Annual Convention come Feb. 21-23, 2007. Tonight, I got the reply. Here it is: "Relevant Counseling Theory, Research and Practice: Contextualizing Multicultural Counseling and Therapy." Her full name (author's) is Evangeline P. Aguilan, Ph.D. If you want to order direct from her, you may contact her through her email address: which I myself will send a message after this blog. It is difficult now to edit published blogs in this site, so a new entry like this is a necessity if something needs to be added (plus the fact that I have to edit this before I publish it lest mistakes become immortalized).

In case you want to have your work in Counseling or Counseling Psychology published, please feel free to submit it to our Editor, Dr. Leo Capeding in this email address: <> or his personal email address: Leo Capeding This should provide our Philippine Journal of Counseling Psychology its steady supply of literature for review and publication which I believe should be a regular part during the Annual Conventions. As far as I know, articles published in the journal are peer reviewed before they are published. No wonder our journal has been offered inclusion into EBSCO Publishing's database of journals sold to the library marketplace. If plans don't miscarry, the Philippine Journal of Counseling Psychology may in the future be included in the SocINDEX with Full text. This should then open the gates for our publishing researcher-Counselors and their outputs to the world market. In this way, developments in Counseling Psychology here in the Philippines should become part of literature in future researches all over the world. What we used to do with foreign researches will then be done to our outputs. This should be a strong incentive for those among us who're gifted with this pursuit.

Okey? Keep your belts tightened fast. This profession called Counseling is on willing to boom here in the country.

For Love of Counseling

Yes, all for love of this profession we have given so much, our PACERS Annual Convention seems to be getting exciting. I've been getting text messages inquiring where to get the registration forms (I have a copy and your request shall immediately be granted through EMAIL), as well as the possibility of selling their own publications. Here are a list of those interested to bring their materials and sell it to our Convention participants:

1. Dr. Honey Carandang (Clinical Psychologist based at UP and working at Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital, San Juan, MM) will be bringing her books:
a. Filipino Children Under Stress: Family Dynamics & Therapy
b. Self-worth and the Filipino Child
c. The Path to Healing: A Primer in Family Violence

Dr. Honey Carandang (honestly the first time I called her Honey, I felt like I was married! Nakatawag din ako ng Honey kahit na wala akong asawa, akala ko nga wala nang chance yun, i.e., calling someone Honey!) will be one of our panel discussants on Relationships at Home. She has actually written a book on Abused Children. She might have still a copy of that book, and if you say so, I shall ask her to bring that along as well. Her clinical experience is so rich everyone who comes and listens to her share her expertise shall go back truly updated.

2. Dr. Vangie Aguilan also wants to sell us her publication, her own dissertation on Multicultural Counseling. She said that production cost has been quite elevated, and even if she doesn't earn from it, what's important is it gets read (pronounced red, because it has a past participle in it). That's really noble of you, Vangie. All for love of Counseling!

Come think of this: when we become licensed Counselors, one good field to develop competency in is that on multi-cultural counseling since the Philippines shall be very much multi-cultural as it already is actually. I mean to say, whether we like it or not, we are called to promote this profession for the good of the people in our nation, especially since we hold a position of influence to better mental health and functioning of our people. And we have quite a multi-cultural setting in the Philippines. Add to that our palatability as a people on the move! For many among us move out of the country looking for "greener" pastures abroad. For as long as we have a law of reciprocity in Counseling, something the PRBGC (Professional Regulatory Board for Guidance and Counseling) and IPCAP (Integrated Professional Counselors Association of the Philippines) will work towards, we can let foreign technology come in and train us, as well as give our licensed Counselors the chance to work in a country where we have reciprocity rights. Galing no?

3. I have personally invited my test provider Psychological Resources Center to come and sell their assessment measures to participating Counselors during the Convention.

Am sure many will grab this chance of being able to get their materials for their schools, clinics, communities, and even classrooms.

Besides, come to think of this: I don't think I have ever seen these materials in any National or Rex Bookstore nearby. (You might ask when was the last time I went there anyway? You can call them yourself anyhow and test the truth of my statement here. Do let me know what you discovered. And for sure, if they have, it will be more expensive than the ones sold here.

But what amuses me is the possibility of having the authors themselves sign an autograph and maybe even pose with you. That would be some beautiful memory that can bring many a smile on our faces, something we can beam to our clients when they come for our help.

If you have any material you would like to share us, please feel free to contact our Treasurer (Ms. Liza D. Suarez, celphone number 0917-8365883) for the arrangements (we might need extra tables where you can lay your treasures for everyone to access). Your requests to me shall be dealt with nonetheless.

And before I close this entry, some Counselors may want to do some surveys during the Convention, please make sure they are permitted. Thanks for the cooperation and God bless.

And yes, if you intend to buy these publications, do bring in extra cash so you don't have to pay for mailing expenses. Lost chances may be lost forever too.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Hotels Nearby Bayview Park Hotel

I got a text message this morning which led me to write this blog. The text goes this way: "Sir, we would like to ask if you have suggested gotel or pension houses near the venue? Thank you." I texted the Chair, the Vice-Chair and the Treasurer. The Treasurer replied: " You may surf the internet to look for possible hotels, pension houses or apartelle. Or if you are a group of 2-3, better stay in Bayview Park Hotel."

I did my own surfing, and realized the following:

1. The Department of Tourism thorugh its WOW Philippines Program has a list of accredited hotels; all you've got to do is go to their site, clicking particularly this site: and presto, you will be given a host of choices. You may need to check where in particular throughout the country would you like to look for what hotel. Since Bayview Park Hotel is found in Metro Manila, the right combination is NCR, Manila.

2. These hotels have email addresses of the person one can contact, the Manager's name, the hotel's telephone number, and address. Honestly, I was looking for the internet site of the hotel in order for me to see for myself how the hotel looks like. This may be particularly helpful for those who will be staying in a hotel for the first time. I think, there shouldn't be any problem contacting the email address written there to inquire where their internet site is. Perhaps one can find in there the room rates, the hotel facade and other pertinent data one may want to know about.

I still remember last year when I was tasked to scout for a hotel for the Midyear Conference in Bohol, I surfed the internet for hotels in Bohol. I used the Yahoo search engine to look for Bohol hotels, and presto, a host of hotels were flashed, and More Information per hotel was a regular feature in every hotel which picture was also posted. It took me a day of waiting before I received a reply from the person in charge of the email address. That became very convenient for me because I needed no longer to go there myself before I knew anything about it. Why not try it?

I know of a place though where I've referred people before to stay at a very affordable, relatively simple and affordable, although it's quite a few blocks away from Bayview: the ASILO DE SAN VICENTE DE PAUL which address is 1148 United Nations Ave., Ermita Manila. Their telephone number is (02) 523-3829. I have just called them up after finding their data from the 2002 Catholic Directory of the Philippines. Bayview Park Hotel is located at Roxas Blvd., the end of the UN Ave., while Asilo, also along UN Ave., is towards the other end, beyond Taft Ave. It should be a good 20 minute walk from Bayview Park Hotel (if you walk my strides!). In case you wouldn't want to lose those precious calories, the taxi should find it easy to bring you there from the hotel because it's very near.

I hope this blog can provide the needed direction and perhaps some sense of security while attending the Convention. See you there. God bless

Thursday, February 08, 2007

All Systems GO for PACERS 31st Annual Convention

We had our last Board Meeting yesterday at DLSU, Manila, and it seems that everything is in its place, thereby giving us some certainty about the forthcoming PACERS 31st Annual Convention. I have actually been updating here about it, and here are some more highlights:

1. We intend to have handouts ready at the beginning of the Convention. Participants can get the set included in their Convention kit. Only those who register shall be provided though. As to Workshop kits, only those who participate in the two workshops shall be provided. Participants are allowed to attend two out of three workshops. For those who would like to get the handouts of the un-attended workshop (the third workshop), we shall be providing you but for an added production fee to help pay the production cost. It should be reasonable a fee, and will definitely help PACERS and its future activities.

2. We plan to have a Business meeting of ALL ACTIVE PACERS members attending the Convention. It's scheduled at 5PM of the first day. It's high time we get to know each other, and maybe help each other as we face the prospect of a professionalized Counseling practice. RA 9258 is already being enforced, and its implications to us Counselors and our practice are quite formidable. Those who attend the Convention and would like to join this meeting should first be a PACERS member. Those who may want to apply for membership may receive their application forms either through our Corporate Secretary Dr. Susie Eala or through me. Membership fee is P500 renewable annually. My contact addresses (celphone and landline numbers, email address) have been published in one of the blogs below. We'd surely help you out in this.

3. As to the DepEd Advisory (also known as DepEd Memo), just click the link highlighted before this blog and the document in pdf format shall be provided you in another window. I think it should be printable. Just make sure your computer is armed with the updated Adobe Reader. This should be a new lesson about your computer's powers!!! In case you can't but you need it, just email me, and I'll be glad to attach the document to my reply for you. At your service, ika nga ng GMA 7. Kapuso po ito. Hahaha. Kapamilya din. I just emailed CHED for their site where we can download their memo to save on fax expenses as well as quicken response to your request.

4. Our Poster and Concurrent Paper Presentations all have their abstracts in and shall form part of the handouts in your kit. This saves us the trouble we faced last year when only one poster presentor gave us her abstract. The rest simply forgot about their smiling promises. Hence, even if you may not be able to attend all the Paper Presentations, you may still be able to read their abstracts and review them later. This shall form part of the Proceedings of the Convention. Who knows? Data in there may help us during our licensure exams! Haha!

5. Like last year's Pearl Anniversary Convention, we shall also be high-tech this year. We shall be using LCD projection during the panel discussions, paper presentations and workshops. Since the handouts shall be available, your active participation should be more intense. If this is one way to heighten our development and updating, your choice will definitely enrich you and your clients.

Honestly, am excited about this Convention. Hope we can all be there. You may want to share this blog site, as well as invite other Counselors to the Convention, please feel free to share this. Free naman 'tong blog na to. If you have any questions, just text or email me. God bless and take care. Hanggang sa muling blog

Counseling Psychology in the Philippines: DepEd Advisory Online,%20s.%202007.pdf

DepEd Advisory Online

For those among you who need the DepEd Memo, please click on the Link part of this blog so you can download it yourself. I shall be trying it first and then finalize this blog entry.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

To Jumpstart the Discussions

I'd like to mention here that I have said something about the Grandfather's Clause in my June 8, 2006 blog. Just scroll down to that date and read my thoughts on that so that first question gets some response. Hope to write some more in my next blogs. How I wish there were a site to access RA9258 in its full text so everyone can read it. If the entry will be publishable in this blog, I'll look into that possibility. Okey?

I think I can also mention about this matter during our Annual Convention come Feb. 21-23, 2007 at Bayview Park Hotel, Roxas Blvd., Manila. The invitation I have copied in my previous blog as well. You are definitely welcome to attend the PACERS Annual Convention. God bless