It seems only yesterday that the candidates for the Philippine Association of Speech Pathologists (PASP) 2022-2023 Officers Election were introduced to the public. As they take the center stage, their responses to a series of questions put a spotlight on their character, their values, and most especially, their purpose. The voting ensued from the 20th to the 25th of September. After a long wait, on September 27, 2021, a new batch of officers was announced. As there are only a few more pages left before the next chapter for PASP begins, the time has come for the 12 newly elected officers to come forward and bring into reality the vision for effective communication and safe swallow for all Filipinos.
To start off, the officers have shared how it feels to be chosen to hold a position in the organization. There were mixed emotions noted from the new line-up of officers. For some, winning the elections was not something that they expected. Iric Santos expressed that being nominated alone, especially given this roster, is already a privilege. Similarly, Bea Lozada said that she was surprised as most of the officers are her seniors. Additionally, a few considered winning as a thrilling experience. Ma. Carisa “Caysa” Relova-Lacson stated that she is excited about this new chapter in her life. Similarly, Vicente Mikael “Vito” Garcia said that he is happy and excited to be elected. Generally, all of them perceived being part of this new line-up as something to be elated about. Despite the initial astonishment and uncertainties that the members faced, they recognized that each member will play a role in working toward the betterment of the organization.
Moreover, the officers have expressed their excitement regarding the coming year. In particular, all the officers shared that they are looking forward to working with new people, in creating meaningful projects and innovative solutions to issues concerning the practice together. Likewise, they are hoping to learn from the insights and advocacies of one another, in order to broaden their own understanding of varied Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) related topics.
Both Iric Santos and Julie Garcia-Rimando shared that they are keen to see the strengths and skills of each officer. Iric is looking forward to identifying and contributing to the main thrust — the purpose of service — of this set of officers. He is interested to see how he, alongside his colleagues, will formulate appropriate and effective strategies to address the different challenges they will encounter during their term. Julie is looking forward to forming meaningful and long-term bonds with the officers. She is eager to hear the diverse perspectives and visions of her colleagues.
Carmela Castillo Go and Caysa Relova-Lacson spoke about their excitement for project planning. Carmela aims to devise programs that will be relevant to the needs of new SLPs; she is intent on learning from the experiences of clinicians from all walks of life, primarily those of the younger generations. Caysa relayed that she anticipates raising her advocacies to the national level. She mentioned information dissemination about the profession as one of her advocacies. This includes amplifying the organization’s social media presence, which is relevant to the current technological trends and resources. It is also adaptive considering that technology and virtuality are highly integrated into the lives of the Filipinos.
Aileen Matalog had a unique take on the endeavors that she is most excited about. She is eager to foster the development of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) focusing on dysphagia or adult practice in general. She is hoping that more SLPs will be involved in the hospital setting since the majority of SLPs work in therapy clinics or private practice. The dearth of hospital-based SLPs has led to the reduced access to needed services for patients in the hospital. The lack of therapists specializing in voice, dysphagia, and cognitive-communication disorders (e.g., aphasia) is acutely felt. With the rising cases of COVID-19 patients, SLPs play an important role in assessing and managing the consequences of the virus on communication and swallowing. Definitely, the multitude of plans that the officers have in store for the advancement of PASP and the SLP practice drives them to welcome the new year with diligence and enthusiasm.
Cooperation is undeniably critical to an organization’s growth and success. “Cooperation begins with oneself” is a theme that is prominent among the responses of the officers — to cooperate, after all, is a self-initiative that requires commitment and attitude. The officers’ responses highlighted the value that they place on the importance of cooperation within the organization. It fosters a dynamic wherein the members’ strengths are maximized; it creates an environment wherein each members’ contribution is recognized and deemed as vital to the realization of the organization’s goals.
Ferdiliza “Ferdz'' Garcia, Bea Lozada, and Jonah Jerome “Jay” Katalbas expressed similar ideas regarding the importance of communication, openness, and humility for cooperation to take concrete shape. This includes the willingness to listen and to acknowledge the ideas of others. Jay Katalbas encapsulated this by highlighting the need to communicate “professionally, effectively, and with respect.” Equal regard and importance must be placed upon the ideas of every member; this promotes cooperation, as it entails that decisions are developed with insights and perspectives from various officers. Meanwhile, Davilin “Dav” Quilantang along with Vito Garcia both recognize the importance of being goal-driven and being guided by an objective to achieve success within the organization. Dav Quilantang adds that she is confident that each elected officer will contribute and fulfill their duties. Because in spite of their diverse backgrounds, she believes that all of them seek the protection and advancement of the profession, and such commonality is a springboard for cooperation.
In addition to the attitudes mentioned above, Iric and Carmela also view the relationship among the officers as a defining point of success. One of the foundations for cooperation is the awareness and understanding that the organization is a united collective that pursues and aspires to realize the same goals. Carmela reiterates that building “relationships deeper than being an officer” is substantial for teamwork and cooperation. Cooperation strengthens communication and relationships. The unity within an organization constructs a synergy through which individual fulfillments and organizational achievements are amplified. There is a greater sense of accomplishment when success and progress occur in the context of a collective.
The new set of PASP officers will be serving the organization for the next two years. They will take on central roles and perform duties in pursuit of the organization's vision and mission. They will head the development of activities and projects for its members, the SLP clientele, the families of clientele, and the general public. Indeed, there will be challenges ahead of these officers. The advent of unprecedented events such as the COVID-19 pandemic has posed organizational administration and management barriers including restrictions in movement and real-life interactions. However, having their common goal in mind and establishing effective communication systems among themselves will help them formulate innovative and adaptive solutions in order to overcome these challenges.
Ana Sophia F. David, Maria Blanquita M. Salvador, Regina Ariane DR Tayag, Kristine A. Villena