Paglaum Training Workshop Batch XIII ends in success

31 March 2017 | by Rogelio Constantino Medina

Twenty-four (24) public servants took part in the Career Executive Service Board's Paglaum Training Workshop (Batch XIII) Paghilom, Pakikipag-ugnayan, Paglaum Patungo sa Ginhawa held last 21 to 23 March 2017 at The Ace Hotel and Suites on United Street corner Brixton Street in Pasig City.

The three-day experiential learning program, a competency building workshop on providing psychosocial first aid and support in post-disaster situations, began with the morning's opening remark by CES Board Executive Director Atty. Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones, CESO I.

"Paglaum, the Visayan and Bicolano word for hope, embodies the objective of the program, which is to rekindle hope and help rebuild the lives of survivors of calamities and disasters. Paglaum training graduates are called 'hope-bearers' to affirm their newly acquired calling after having completed the training," she said.

Now on its third year, the Paglaum Training Workshop has been "refreshed to strengthen its knack towards helping hope-bearers achieve personal healing and be better instruments for bringing hope and recovery."

Facilitated by psychologists Tomas Alejo S. Batalla, Priscilla "Peachy" Gonzalez-Fernando and Alyda Yasmin A. Keh, the participants were engaged in Healing the Healers session, or the self as the instrument for bringing hope and recovery on Day One. They also went through a role-playing activity as a listener, an observer and a speaker to bring about lessons in communicating effectively and an imagery exercise to enable them to revisit some aspects of their lives that need healing. They were also taught to practice a self-healing exercise that could apply at work and/or personal life.

Day Two was allotted to Pakikipag-ugnayan, or the psycho-education and the skills in providing Psychological First Aid (PFA) which is part of mental health psychosocial support (MHPSS) framework in disaster situations. MHPSS is the general term used to describe any type of local or outside support to help the survivor to rebound from crisis, to resist forces towards hopelessness and destabilization, to develop strengths and competencies to not only survive but to grow in the face of challenges that disaster brings, and to prevent and treat mental disorders.

Through various structured learning exercises and lectures, the facilitators imparted the needed knowledge and skills on introducing one's self to the survivor/s, identifying roles and steps of PFA, working with special populations (children, the elderly, pregnant women, the sick, and survivors with disabilities), listening, conducting interview, asking questions, and connecting to distressed children through play..

Play is said to be a symbolic communication that acts as a bridge between conscious awareness and emotional experiences. "Play allows us a safe psychological distance from our problems and allows us to express our true thoughts and feelings in ways that are safe and non-threatening," said facilitator Peachy Fernando, adding that, "Play serves to facilitate cathartic release of feelings, emotional expression, a greater awareness of relationships, exploration and expression of troublesome situations (i.e., provides a safe space to 'act out'), insight to be developed, self-esteem to increase, and mastery to be achieved."

On Day Three, the Pagsasagawa, or the application of PFA skills and forming of linkage system by developing a simple action plan for pre-PFA, actual PFA and post-PFA which includes steps in evaluating the PFA conducted, was achieved.

The simple plan, said workshop facilitator Tomas Batalla, would involve being "able to evaluate how the participants were able to apply what they learned, and what else would be needed to ensure the success of the PFA assistance they provided."

As the workshop ended, some participants, who were expected to cascade the skills and competencies on providing psychosocial support to their colleagues who have the sense of volunteerism and sensitivity towards the needs of others, made their significant remarks, as follows:

Flora P. Gabunales, Provinicial Director, Department of Trade and Industry Koronadal City: "Paglaum helped explore and develop the spirit of volunteerism among Career Officials thereby giving them the chance to be of service to humanity as a personal commitment. What made this more meaningful is that this is beyond the mandate of their respective Offices."

Enrique E. Angeles Jr. , OIC-Assistant Schools Division Superintendent, Department of Education's Division of Gapan City in Nueva Ecija: "It is interesting and it is a big help to DepEd people."

Wayne C. Belizar, Director IV, Department of Social Welfare and Development: "Project Paglaum attempts to show the maturity of the Filipino people as a community and as individual persons. It presents how we, as a nation and as individuals, respond to the needs of others. The Paglaum training and orientation has further enriched my experience: that in order to develop and improve my inner and personal resources, I need to share and use them in helping others."

Judea P. Asuncion, Assistant Regional Director, Parole and Probation Administration in San Fernando, Pampanga: "Paglaum is a training workshop for the soul that provides one the opportunity to unleash the goodness in oneself. It is a privilege to be called to service... I have rediscovered myself. I have learned that the first step towards healing others is to heal oneself. To strengthen others, one needs to confront his or her weaknesses. Only then can one be able to truly empathize and bring hope and inspiration to others."