Families, left behind with the sudden loss of a

Families, as
the primary unit of society, serve as an emotional, financial, and social
support and foundation. This is especially true in the Philippines where
Filipinos are usually referred to as family-centered. Tarroja (2010) asserted
that in the country’s cultural context:


Parents provided for their children’s basic needs and later on the
children took care of their elderly parents. When members of the family are
separated, members worked to keep the ties alive. There was a hierarchical
structure of authority in the family. The extended family (which could include
non relatives at times) was a source of support for the family. The extended
family nature of most Filipino families could be a strength and a weakness at
the same time. (p. 179) 

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demonstrates the typical dynamics of a Filipino family where the relationship
within the unit is an important value people cherish.  However, in the moment that a parent has been
perished, the dynamics and roles of the family may be disrupted. The social
functioning of family members may be negatively affected. With the recent
Marawi City siege, families of military personnel have been left behind with
the sudden loss of a parental figure. 


Having that said, the paper focuses on the role of social work
profession in the Philippine military setting in assessing families of fallen
officers. This literary scan would provide a review of works that center on the
resilience and coping of families of killed-in-action military personnel,
social work in the military, and the existing programs for families of military
personnel to further understand the topic at a greater extent. The
aforementioned concepts would provide studies that have been conducted, which
withhold essential information that may contribute to this subject matter.


As this academic paper gives focus on the social work interventions
for fallen families, the profession’s position in assessing their needs
(through case management) is crucial in the promotion of their well-being.
Given that there are existing laws and programs by public and private
institutions, the capacity of the practice to help families adjust to the
situation implies the importance of the social worker’s presence in this
matter. In fact, social work in the military in other countries have been
established. Until today, the profession in some nations function in the said
setting where they administer services to military personnel and their
families, and are even part of the forces as well. In fact, the development of
the practice from a clinical to a generalist perspective is evident in this
particular department as the shift in approach is highlighted.


As such, since World War II in the United States of America,
psychiatric social workers were employed to be assigned in military hospitals
for soldiers who are in need of psychological facilitation. In fact, according
to Harris (1999), the following is the job description of military psychiatric
social workers were:


Under supervision of a psychiatrist,
performs psychiatric casework to facilitate diagnosis and treatment of soldiers
requiring psychiatrist guidance

Administers psychiatric intake
interviews, and writes case histories emphasizing the factors pertinent to
psychiatric diagnoses

Carries out mental-hygiene
prescriptions and records progress to formulate a complete case history

May obtain additional information on
soldier’s home environment through Red Cross or other agencies to facilitate in
possible discharge planning

Must have knowledge of dynamics of
personality structure and development, and cause emotional maladjustments (p.


The role of the
social worker in the psychiatric department continues to be a primary position
of the profession until medical, family advocacy, substance abuse, and policy
programs – along with combat and non combat operations – became a part of the
practice’s function (Harris, 1999). However, even if the profession remains
under the U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD), which signifies that their
function, participation, and scope are constrained by it, Daley (1999) asserts
that they are as seen as social change advocates instead of mental health


            On the other hand, in the Canadian
Armed Forces (CAF), social workers mainly revolved around the functioning of
its military personnel. As exemplified, Khan (2014) has mentioned that the
profession is:


responsible for and provide a range of social services intended to
support the morale, efficiency and mental health of CAF members and their
families; services include the provision of clinical interventions such as
counselling for compassionate problems, delivery of preventive and
rehabilitative programs, and counselling services that may result from the
various stressors of military (pre and post-deployment stress) and other
personal aspects of their lives (suicide prevention, individual and family
problems, marital breakdown, family violence). (p. 4).