Do We Need to Enact Laws to Become Effective Parents?

AS A PARENT for the past 27 years I became more involved in the lives of my two kids when they entered the primary and secondary schools. I personally attend parent-teachers conferences, awardings, graduations and most activities that may or may not even require my presence. Because it’s my intuition that young adolescents need as much attention and love from us as they needed when they were younger—and maybe more. A good relationship with a parent or with other adults is the best safeguard our kids have as they grow and explore. By the time they reach adolescence, they will have years of experience with us—the parent of today’s toddler is the parent of tomorrow’s teenager.

Our relationship with our kids may change-in fact, it almost certainly must change—however, as they develop the skills required to be successful adults. These changes can be rewarding and welcome. As your primary and secondary kids make mental and emotional leaps, your conversations will grow richer. As their interests develop and deepen, they may begin to teach or introduce you—on how to enjoy apps or games in your android or ios, new dance craze, Koreanovelas, coffee and dessert explorations, or why a new book is worth reading.

Among the model couple I admire most is Angeles City’s Arthur and Mich Viray— a successful businessman and fashion designer respectively. They always make themselves available for their three children—connect with them, communicate with them, spend time with them and show a genuine interest in them. Being strong models, they encouraged their kids to develop interests as their actions speak louder than words by setting proper standards and treating others with kindness and respect. In this manner, their kids will stand a better chance to follow them as models and eventually define themselves who they become as they grow up.

There are no perfect parents. However, a bad decision or a DAY OFF (or week or month) isn’t likely to have any lasting impact on our kids. What’s important in being an effective parent is what we do OVER TIME.

From a government’s viewpoint, it’s a resounding yes to enact laws to become effective parents. It is imperative for the legislative branches of government, local and national levels, to enact laws because they are bound by the State’s declared policy to recognize the sanctity of family life, protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution and foundation of the nation, strengthen its solidarity, and actively promote its total development. The right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them shall be promoted. It is further the policy of the State to defend the right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development. Through the combined efforts of the Committees on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality; Basic Education, Arts and Culture Senate Bill No. 2399 otherwise known as “The Parent Effectiveness Service Program Act” has been crafted and authored by Senators Win Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros and Sonny Angara.


The Parent Effectiveness Service (PES) Program shall primarily cover fathers and mothers, surrogate parents, and caretakers or parent substitutes of children. It is a program on the provision and expansion of knowledge and skills of parents and parent substitutes on parenting to be able to respond to parental duties and responsibilities on the areas of early childhood development, behavior management of younger and older children, husband-wife relationships, prevention of child abuse, health care, and other challenges of parenting. It assists parents and parent substitutes to develop and strengthen their knowledge and skills so they can assume the major educational role in their child’s growth and development.

A parent substitute refers to the guardian other than the biological parent who has custody over a child and is primarily responsible for his or her care, and physical, moral and intellectual development. It shall also include foster parents, legal guardians, surrogate parents and caretakers. In case of a guardian who is not the biological parent or who is not duly appointed as such pursuant to a court order, such person may only be considered a guardian if a certification is issued by the proper office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) confirming that such guardian may qualify as a parent substitute, provided that in case the person is a relative of the child up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity, no such certification shall be required.


A PES Program shall be established in every city and municipality to assist all parents and parent substitutes in strengthening their knowledge and skills in responding to their parental duties and responsibilities, protect and promote children’s rights, foster positive early childhood development, and advance their educational progress.

Subject to modifications by the concerned LGUs to adapt to local context, the core of the modules shall embody the following principles: Parents and Parent Substitutes and their Roles and Needs; The Filipino Family; Challenges of Parenting; Child Development; Keeping Children Safe from Abuse; Building the Child’s Positive Behavior; Health and Nutrition; Home Management; Keeping a Healthy Physical Environment for the Child; Keeping Children Safe in Times of Disasters; and Investment in Adolescents. But the LGUs are encouraged to design and contextualize their own modules as they deem appropriate taking into consideration the needs and challenges of the families in the communities under their respective jurisdictions, and the progress and result of the PES Program implementation.


The implementation of the PES Program shall be the joint responsibility of the national government agencies, LGUs, non-governmental organizations, and other private organizations that promote parental and community involvement in the child’s learning and development. The DSWD shall be primarily responsible for promoting, strengthening, and enhancing the well-being of Filipino families by providing integrated, comprehensive and developmental services in a fair, just and peaceful society. The DepEd, the Early Childhood Care and Development Council, the School Governing Councils, and the DOH shall incorporate important principles on social services, early education, learning and holistic development, health, and nutrition in the PES Program and provide supplementary learning materials and reference materials thereon. The DOJ shall ensure that the PES Program shall be guided by the principles of non-discrimination, best interests of the child, and the right of the child to life. It shall also guarantee the legal protection of all children. The DILG shall recognize the LGUs which are outstanding in the implementation of the PES Program by providing an annual recognition and a mechanism for their modules to be replicated or adopted by other LGUs. The LGUs shall coordinate with the relevant government agencies to ensure the implementation of the PES Program. They may collaborate with the DepEd’s Schools Division Offices in providing facilities for the conduct thereof. The LGUs shall likewise provide incentives to parents and parent substitutes who actively participated or garnered high evaluation rates from their children in the PES Program. The families and communities shall support the PES Program by participating in various projects for the overall development of their children.

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