Anda, Pangasinan — The role of fathers in the nurturing of children is as important as that of mothers.
It has been a misconception among Filipino fathers that their wives should be the primary caregiver and nurturer of their children while they provide for the family’s needs.
On the other hand, with the global economic slowdown, many mothers are constrained to work outside the home, hence, the support of fathers in the rearing of children has become even more significant.
To address this evolving situation of Filipino families, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has initiated the program Empowerment and Reaffirmation of Paternal Abilities (ERPAT) to strengthen fathers’ parenting skills.
ERPAT gives importance to the development and enrichment of knowledge, attitude, and skills of fathers in performing their paternal roles and responsibilities.
In this town, the ERPAT program has shown positive results in solidifying families.
Around 30 fathers have become more active in nurturing their families after attending an ERPAT training which discussed topics such as Role of Fathers, Raising and Understanding Needs of Children, and Understanding Differences Between Men and Women, among others.
One of the ERPAT-trained fathers, Pastor Rogelio Valdez, said, “We like being taught how to love our wives more and understand our children better.”
“Aside from becoming more caring to their families, they also became more active in their communities,” noted Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer Jowey Celso.
“They call themselves ‘transformers,’ which they started in their own families,” Celso added.
Celso leads the group in their monthly meetings where they share experiences in molding their own families and in becoming role models in their own communities.
A challenge to change
As change agents in their own families and communities, the trained ERPAT dads also pushed for the creation of a Municipal Ordinance on Moral Recovery Program.
Under this, an ERPAT-trained father is assigned in every barangay as ‘spiritual leader’ joining the barangay officials in their meetings and activities.
The empowered fathers envision themselves contributing to community development as a whole.
“ ‘Pag matino ang tatay, mapapatino ang buong pamilya, at pag matino ang pamilya, mapapatino ang buong komunidad (If a father is well-mannered, the whole family becomes well-mannered. And if the families are well-mannered, the whole community too becomes well-mannered),” Celso emphasized. ###