Enriching Core Knowledge and Competencies of Filipino Counselors


The Philippine Association for Counselor Education, Research and Supervision (PACERS) was established in March 6, 1976 in response to the need to gather together educators and researchers committed to the continual development of guidance and counseling practices in the Philippines.

Through these years, PACERS has remained and continues to be an advocate of professionalism among counselors.

Brief accounts of PACERS through the years:

The 70ís

The Philippine Association for Counselor Education, Research and Supervision (PACERS) formerly called the Philippine Association of Counselor Educators-Researchers (PACER), was formally established on March 6, 1976. It was a brainchild of Dr. Leticia Asuzano, and some De La Salle University faculty members who saw the need to bring together counselor educators and researchers committed to the task of upgrading counselor education programs and guidance and counseling services through research and exchange of information and expertise through seminars, workshops, conferences and publications.

With the organiational stabilization as its initial general direction, the 27 charter members clarified the idea behind the establishment of PACER, drew up its constitution, elected officers, and formed committees.

The first officers were:

  • Leticia M. Asuzano - Executive Chairman
  • Rose Marie Salazar - Secretary
  • Evita H. Valencia - Treasurer

The committee chairmen were the following:

  • Evelyn D. Jose - Publications
  • Carmel Harrow - Private Schools Membership
  • Demetilia Aquilizan - Public Schools Membership
  • Perlita Carino - Industrial Membership
  • Jean Lara - Programs

To initiate the continuing program for its members, the first year saw the sponsorship of talks on homeroom guidance, current trends in counseling, social effectiveness training and reality therapy.


On its first anniversary, the officers distributed the first PACER Newsletter/ Journal, which contained PACER information and research summaries. This hoped to respond to the research needs of the members.

The subsequent years once more attended to the continuing education of its members. Seminar workshops on human sexuality, learning and disability, transpersonal psycholopgy, career education and counselor attidues were held between 1976 and 1977.

1978 The Association provided the trainers for the First Credited Summer Institute sponsored by the Fund for Assistance to Private Education (FAPE). This was PACER's first formal attempt to focus on counselor education.


FAPE sponsored a National Guidance Plan, with PACER involved in drafting the plan. The Association's involvement hoped to establish linkages with other professional organizations. In the same year, the Association sought to establish the relevance of counselor education programs to the industrial steeting by sponsoring an Industrial Group Sharing.

When the Center for Education Measurement took over PACER's sponsorship of the Credited Summer Institute, the involvement of the PACER's counselor education arm was formalized.

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1980 In line with the continuing education objective of the PACER, one seminar was sponsored in 1980, which was on "The Counselor and Media."


A steering committee was formed to reassess the Association's past accomplishment and to determine its future direction. As a result of such reexamination, the name was changed from PACER to PACERS, a new constitution was drawn up and a new set of officers was elected. The new constitution provided for a Board of Directors who elect from among themselves the members of the Executive Council.


The Association set about to address the priority goals of the 1981 4-year Plan starting with "Professional Competence in Counselor Education" as the themes for the first national conference workshop on August 29-31, 1983 held at the Philamlife Auditorium. Dr. Susan K. Gilmore, Director of the Leona Tyler Center of Eugene, Oregon was the keynote speaker. Related topics such as "Views on Professionalization of Counselor Education Programs" and "Problems and Issues in Counselor Education" were also discussed in the conference.


The Association felt it was time to address the ticklish issue of professional accreditation. Thus, the February 27-29, 1985 national conference-workshop had for its theme, the "Professional Accreditation of Counselors and Counselor Education Programs." Dr. Alma J. Viado, a career counselor and teacher specialist from Los Angeles, California provided the framework in her keynote address entitled "Perspective and Directions for Counselor Education: Addressing the Issue of Professional Accreditation." Within the same year, the Association started work on the development of the instrument for accreditation of counselor education programs in the country.


The historic EDSA Revolution put a halt to the plans and preaparations for the annual conference-workshop. The following year the officers convened to reexamine PACERS' focus and direction in keeping with the country's post revolution call for rehabilitation and reconciliation.

"PACERS' Response to the Nation's Ills" was the theme for the November 17-18, 1987 conference-workshop. PACERS also gave birth to the first issue of the Philippine Journal of Counseling Psychology, edited by Dr. Rose Marie Salazar-Clemena.


A series of conference-workshops on historic counselor education was held February 12-14, 1998; June 22-23, 1988; and February 23-25, 1989.

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Departing momentarilyt from the series, the annual conference-workshosp on the February 21-23, 1990, addressed the perennial problem amont counselors: administrative support for the guidance programs and services. Dr. Naomi Ruiz provided the framework for the round table discussions among groups of participants composed of administrators, teachers and guidance counselors. The theme for the annual event was "Enhancing the Delivery of Educational Systems."


It was back to "Holistic Counselor Education: Counseling Special Groups" in February 20-22, 1991 for PACERS. It was a contribution to the rehabilitation and healing of the survivors of the natural and psychological calamities that hit the Philippines.

In celebration of its 15th year, PACERS undertook another self-analysis through a conference workshop on "Guidance and Counseling Breakthroughs: Gains and Prospects" held on July 17 to 19, 1991. To strengthen counselors' skills, workshops on the following topics were held: pranic healing and psychotherapy, test development, rehabilitation and substance abuse, lifestyle reframing and holistic healing.

The second volume of the Philippine Journal of Counseling Psychology was published on the same year. Like the first volume, the second volume was a compilation of research papers for limited circulation.


The annual midyear held on September 14-16 at the College of St. Benilde featured seminars on professionalization, case management and consultation. To complement these seminars, the workshops covered the following: creativity enhancement, instrument development for program evaluation and conceptualizing client concerns.

The 1992-1993 Board of Directors set the following objectives for 1992 till 1995:
(1) the concepts of counseling in the Philippine context will have been generated and explored;
(2) a working knwoledge and understanding of the team approach in case handling will have been acquired;
(3) skills in the administration of guidance programs and supervision of counselor and counselors-in-training will have been enhanced;
4) a wokring knowledge and understanding of the different consultation models will have been gained and suitable/feasible ones of the moedesl will have been identified; (5) the roles of counselors as change agents in their respective settings will have been asserted; (6)the commitment to the evolving profesionalization movement will have been declared, and (7) the PCE will have been validated


Spurred by the 1992-1995 objectives, the annual convention held at the De La Salle University on March 17-19, 1993 focused on the theme "The Filipino Counselor as a Professional." In his keynote address, Senate President Edgardo J. Angara tackled the issue of the professionalization of guidance counselors through legislation.


To highlight the National Year of the Family, two conferences were held in 1994. A seminar-workshop on "Strengthening the Filipino Family" was held at the De La Salle University on May 10, 1994 - which featured workshop on dysfunctional families and Retrouville.

"Sustaining the Filipino Family" was the theme of the midyear conference held at the University of the Philippines Diliman, on October 6-7. The conference featured a multi-disciplinary approach in handling family issues and concerns. Four workshops introduced intervention strategies to help or regain family wholeness.

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Late 1990ís


PACERS entered its 19th year with a futuristic look at the counseling profession at the turn of the century. Its July 24th-26th convention at the Holiday Inn Manila carried the theme, "Megatrends int he 21st Centruy: Counseling Prospects." Workshops topics covered the unconsious mind - the inner consultant; solution-oriented genogram, and total quality management.

The September 5 strategic planning session of the Board of Directors resulted in the vision statement of "Leadership in the indigenization of counseling in the Philippines: towards the development of indigenous models in counselor education, research and supervision."


Moving toward the 1995 formulated vision, six nation-wide round table discussions were held from 1996-1997, involving guidance counselors in the field. The venue for the discussions were: the Holy Cross of Davao, La Salle Bacolod, University of Pangasinan, Ateneo de Naga, Bayombong (Nueva Vizcaya) and Balay Kalinaw in UP Diliman.


On its 21st year, PACERS followed through its 1995 vision with the theme, "Megatrends in the Third Millenium: PACERS' Response." The convention was held at the Manila Galleria Suites on July 30 to August 1.


In response to the outcomes of the 1996-1997 round-table discussions, PACERS directed its effort to "Empowering the Counselor through Professionalization." During the convention, retooling of skills in counseling, research and supervision were underscored. Moreover, a regional workshop on counselor empowerment was conducted in Cagayan de Oro City in collaboration with Xavier University. The annual convention was held on February 11-13 at the Asian Social Institute, Manila.


"Responding to the Expanded Roles of Counselors: Needs and Interventions in the Next Millenium" was the theme for the year. The midyear conference workshops revolved around the conceptual framework of "building counselor skills through supervision and education". It was held at the Angelo King International Center of the De La Salle University on November 25-26.

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2000ís and Onwards


PACERS ventured and reach out to the provinces. Breaking tradition, the Board decided to hold the March 1-3 annual convention outside of Metro Manila, at the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City. The paper presented were on ethics, responsive counselor education, counseling outcome research, and counseling supervision. The workshops tackled counseling interventions for victims of abuse, homosexuals, hyperactive children and persons in crisis.

PACERS also sent delegates to the Association of the Psychological and Educational Counselors in Asia's (APECA) Biennial Conference on July 24-27 at Chonju City, South Korea.

On August 11-12, the midyear workshop was held at the GEMS Sports and Conference Center in Antipolo City, with the theme: "Responding to the Expanded Roles of Counselors: Needs and Interventions in the New Millenium." Workshops covered intervention strategies for crisis counseling, group facilitating and managing abused children.

2000 also saw the revival of the Philippine Journal of Counseling Psychology. The 3rd volume was published in November, refereed by outstanding leaders in Filipino counseling.


For its silver anniversary, PACERS adapted the theme, "The Broadening Spheres of Counselor Accountability." The March 7-9 annual convention-workshop was held at the Traders Hotel, Manila. Ms. Corazon Alma de Leon, former Chaiperson of the Civil Service Commission, delivered the keynote address. Dr. Anthony Yeo from Singapore was also invited as guest speaker.

The midyear workshops were conducted at the De La Salle Lipa on August 9-10. The enthusiastic group of participants had the chance to attend the following workshops: family crisis intervention, defining and enhancing well-being of students, responding to behavioral problems in schools, and managing counseling programs.

The Board also formed as working think-tank group called P-Group composed of young, energetic and innovative counselors. The initial 30 P-Group members were assigned to different working committees to suggest programs, activities and projects.

On December, the 4th volume of the Philippine Journal of Counseling Psychology was launched.

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