Bernardo M. Villegas
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Dreaming About the Filipino Family (Part III)

           Filipino overseas workers by 2035 will be a much lower percentage of total population and will contribute to GDP a significantly lower fraction than today.  But there will still be enough of them to continue  the favorable impact of Filipino families on the rechristianization of  many countries in the Old World in which Filipinos and Filipinas are the ones filling the Catholic churches and bringing with them Christian culture to  their host societies.  As developed countries continue to age and suffer from declining population, they will increasingly depend on the Filipino diaspora to supply them their nurses,  educators, care givers, tourism workers, entertainers and other service workers who are preferred over other nationalities because of the tender and loving care associated with Filipino culture, the “calidad humana” that characterizes the average Filipino , thanks again to the upbringing they get from their respective families which remain intact and are spared the scourges of widespread divorces  and same-sex marriages.  I dream that in 2035, divorce and same-sex unions will still be against the law in the Philippines.

          I also dream that Christian families in the island of Mindanao will be at the vanguard of respecting religious and cultural diversity.  They will know how to propose the truths of their faith without imposing them on their neighbors.  Since the only long-term and effective solution to the tribal conflicts in Mindanao is education, Christian educators will be among those who will uplift the integral human development of the indigenous people and religious minorities in the south.  I share the Pope’s optimism when he said:  “I am confident that the praiseworthy efforts to promote dialogue and cooperation between the followers of the different religions will prove fruitful in the pursuit of this noble goal.  In a particular way, I express my trust that the progress made in bringing  peace to the south of the country will result in just solutions in accord with the nation’s founding principles and respectful of the inalienable rights of all, including the indigenous peoples and religious minorities.”

          I also dream that by 2035, most businesses—both large and small—will exercise what is called Corporate Family Responsibility (CFR) as espoused by the International Center for Work and Family of the IESE Business School which has partnered with the Makati Business Club and the University of Asia and the Pacific to disseminate corporate family responsibility in the business community of the Philippines.  CFR indicates that a company counts on the leaders, culture, and policies of flexibility to foster in their employees the integration of work, family, and personal lives.  As described in a publication of the Makati Business Club, a company with CFR has leaders who:  (a) Make sure every decision takes people into account; (b) Create flexible and equal opportunity policies and practices; (c) Foster worker commitment and satisfaction; (d) Increase the competitiveness and sustainability of the company.  In a highly industrialized economy, in which both parents have to work to support especially a large family, we expect policy makers in both the private and public sectors to “go beyond rhetoric about the value of families to real help for families to survive, develop, and be stable in the long run” by adopting family-friendly policies.

          Among the most important family-friendly policies that business should adopt are those that maximize the opportunities of parents to rest with their children and other relatives.  As Pope Francis said in his message to the families:  “Rest is so necessary for the health of our minds and bodies, and often so difficult to achieve due to the many demands placed on us.  But rest is also essential for our spiritual health, so that we can hear God’s voice and understand what he asks of us.  Joseph was chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus and the husband of Mary….Resting in prayer is especially important for families.  It is in the family that we first learn how to pray. And don’t forget when the family prays together, it remains together.”  I dream that Filipino families will always pray together, especially the Holy Rosary.  For comments, my email address is bernardo.villegas@uap.asia.