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Friday, February 22, 2008

32nd PACERS Annual Convention Welcome Address

I'd like to record and share here the Welcome Address I delivered last February 20, 2008 during our 32nd PACERS Annual Convention at the Bayview Park Hotel right in front of the US Embassy along Roxas Boulevard, the same place we had for our Annual Convention last year. The event is on its third day now.

Here is my Welcome Address:

As late as last night, I received text messages and calls inquiring as to whether our Convention were to proceed or not as scheduled. I replied to them, saying that even if the former President Cory ralllies in the streets, or the present President starts to descend the stairs of MalacaƱan (kahit pa magpa-rally si Cory o bumaba si GMA sa mga hagdanan ng MalacaƱan, tuloy na tuloy tayo!) we shall proceed as scheduled. After all, our Convention happens only once a year. The car I drove coming here was seen by the valet parking man t have been emitting smoke - I will attend to it later - but onward we will with this Convention.

The hearts of each one of us in the PACERS Board are all full of joy to see you today and in the next two days. We have done our best and hope we can serve you.

We have readied for you the Convention kit. We have the Program which shows us the flow of this Convention. This is one Convention wherein whatever transpires will be documented. For those at the back farther from the front, we are setting up a screen which you can look at to keep you from stretching your necks and eyes.

We have three panel discussions to help us capture what we at PACERS want to advocate: “Nurturing a Research Culture in the Counseling Practice,” our theme for this year’s Annual Convention. It is when we practice Counseling from a scientist-practitioner perspective that we can see the need for research. I remember Dr. Villar, in one of the classes I studied under her, mentioning the phenomenon on “symptom substitution” which further stirred my interest in Counseling while keeping a critical mind which Research helped clarify and substantiate in my understanding. Ethics is an essential component in doing research. What we deal with are not simply problems; we are persons dealing with other persons. Hence, the dignity of the human client, whether an individual, or group or institution, requires respect which is enshrined in the ethics of our practice and research. Since we live in a post-modern world, we need to be constantly updated; hence trends and issues in research will be tackled as well.

Regularly, for the past 5 years that I know, we have always been blessed with poster and paper presentors. To help us choose which topic to go or listen to or see, we have readied an Abstract handout, something which we have been having since last year. We have compiled for you and our posterity this document which you can read again and again and maybe inspire you as you tread the road as a scientist-practitioner doing research as you practice Counseling. Urie Bronfenbrenner is the spirit behind these presentations so that all can be updated and up-to-date in our practice.

We have three Workshops on the third day. They are all meant for updating and introduction into the Research business. You may choose to attend either: Qualitative Research Designs, Doing Action Research, or Conceptualizing your Research. As you can see, these workshops have been organized with you in mind, according to the needs of your current level of education on this area of our profession.

We shall be giving the certificates of participation, attendance or appearance on the third day in the afternoon. If you need them earlier, please let us know so we can address your need. Since the secret of successful and up to date practice is Evaluations, we have prepared two sets of Evaluations – for the Convention and for the Workshops. Do let us know what you liked about them, and what you think we still need to grow in our next Conventions.

By all means, partake of our celebration of Counseling. Try to get to know each other better. Let us ally with each other, learn from and grow with each other. It is the Counselor who should understand better our fellow Counselors.

“Thank You” is not enough for your coming. Especially for our resource persons, I have included you in my Masses since last Sunday (para fresh pa ang Blessings!). Indeed it is our pride and joy to hold this Annual Convention, the 32nd since PACERS was born.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Welcome to our 32nd PACERS Annual Convention 2008! Mabuhay! God bless!