“As social workers, we have to maintain a clear scientific perspective in our approach to pre-marriage counseling services while still being fully aware of our historical and cultural roots as Filipinos.”

This was the message of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Undersecretary for Institutional Development Group (IDG) Mae Fe Ancheta-Templa to participants of a seminar for pre-marriage counselor accreditors. She discussed the roles of the Department in strengthening the capacities of Pre-Marriage Counselor (PMC) accreditors during the Capacity Building on the Decentralization of PMC Accreditation to the Field Offices (FOs) in a forum held in Pugo, La Union from May 8-12, 2017.

The seminar sought to improve the skills of DSWD FOs on the process of accrediting PMCs. The guidelines on the same are stated under Administrative Order  No. 14, Series of 2009 or the ‘Omnibus Guidelines in the Accreditation of Marriage Counselors,’ which specified that the accreditation of pre-marriage and marriage counselors shall be decentralized to the Department’s FOs.

The workshop was attended by assessors and accreditors from the DSWD Standards Bureau and FOs I, II, III, IV-A, IV-B, V, CAR, and NCR.  Officers of the Commission on Population (POPCOM) from the same regions also joined the activity.

The DSWD has a role in setting standards, accreditation, and providing consultative services to institutions, organizations and persons engaged in social welfare activities, such as pre-marriage counseling. Pre-marriage counseling service refers to the professional way of guiding or assisting couples as they decide to formalize  their union through contracting marriage.

Specifically, the Department is tasked to provide technical assistance to Local Government Units (LGUs) on marriage counseling and to accredit marriage counselors, which covers all trained social workers and other professionals providing marriage counseling services.

Together with POPCOM, the Department of Health, and the Department of Interior and Local Government, the DSWD through its  FOs must also advocate to all LGUs the organization and establishment of a pre-marriage counseling team through the issuance of a city resolution.

Undergoing pre-marriage counseling is one of the pre-requisites for soon-to-wed couples to secure a marriage license. Counselors usually tackle marriage life expectations, family values, family planning, and household budgeting. They also share inspiring stories where couples can pick real-life changing lessons.

The DSWD will conduct the same capacity building training in Davao City on May 22-26, 2017 for its Mindanao and Visayas clusters.###