The Kapwa in Compassion: Examining Compassionate Health Care for Violence Against Women (VAW) Victims Among PGH Health Care Providers

  • John Mervin EmbateEmail author
  • Marie Carisa Ordinario
  • Alyssa Batu


This chapter investigates the means through which compassionate health care was extended through communicative behaviors by Philippine General Hospital (PGH) health care providers dedicated to Violence Against Women (VAW) patients. The study was conducted at PGH, a government-funded public hospital that caters to about 600,000 patients every year, most of whom come from poor economic backgrounds, and is recognized as one of the Philippine’s public hospitals that has a working Women’s Desk. With the aim of contextualizing the studies on compassion to the local health care culture and system, the study used as a lens the works of Virgilio Enriquez and F. Landa Jocano on Kapwa, with the aid of the Transactional Model of Compassion developed by Fernando III and Consedine (J Pain Symptom Manag 48:289–298, 2014), Van der Cingel’s (Nurse Educ Today 34:1253–1257) dimensions of compassion, and Way and Tracy’s (Commun Monogr 79:292–315, 2012) reconceptualization of compassion.

Through a series of in-depth interviews among two male Emergency Room surgeons, two female obstetrician-gynecologists, and two female social workers at the Women’s Desk—all of whom have constantly attended to VAW patients—the study found that PGH health care providers are able to deliver compassionate health care to VAW victims through recognition, relation, (re)action, and empowerment. The providers also view compassion as Kapwa, Pakikiramdam, Kagandahang-Loob, Asal, virtue, and a dichotomy between call of duty and social responsibility. However, their service is affected by various factors and is inhibited by different organizational/structural and socio-cultural factors.

The study recommends various courses of action, including the amendment in government policies, proper budget allocation, and a rehabilitation of socio-cultural influences that marginalize women with the aim of empowering women and bringing about social justice to those who have been violated by the system.


Compassion Health Care Kapwa Violence against women Sikolohiyang Pilipino 


  1. Aguiling-Dalisay, G.H. (2013). Sikolohiyang Pilipino sa Ugnayan ng Pahinungod: Pakikipagkapwa at pagbabangong-dangal ng mga Pilipino. Daluyan: Journal ng Wikang Filipino Vol 19, 55–72.Google Scholar
  2. Begley, A. (2008). Truth-telling, honesty and compassion: A virtue-based exploration of a dilemma in practice. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 14, 336–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. de Guia, K. (2005). Kapwa: The Self in the Other: Worldviews and lifestyles of Filipino culture-bearers. Pasig City, Philippines: Anvil Publishing, Inc.Google Scholar
  4. Djikanovic, B., Wong, S., Stevanovic, S., Celik, H., & Lagro-Janssen, A. (2011). Women’s expectations of healthcare professionals in case of intimate partner violence in Serbia. Women & Health, 7, 693–708. Scholar
  5. DOH. (n.d.). Women and children protection program. Retrieved from
  6. Enriquez, V.G. (1978). Kapwa: A core concept in Filipino social psychology. Philippine Social Sciences and Humanities Review, 42(1–4).Google Scholar
  7. Fernando III, A.T. & Consedine, N.S. (2014). Beyond compassion fatigue: The transactional model of physician compassion. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 48(2), pp. 289–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Maggay, M.P. (2002). Pahiwatig: Kagawiang pangkomunikasyon ng Filipino. Quezon City, Philippines: Ateneo de Manila University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Manauat, N.D.G. (2005). Contextualizing the Filipino values of pagkalinga [taking someone under one’s care], pag-aaruga [taking care of], pakialam [meddling/caring], and the feminist ethics of care. In Gripaldo, R.M. (Ed.), Filipino cultural traits, Claro R. Ceniza lectures. Retrieved from
  10. Taylor, M. B. (1997). Compassion: Its neglect and importance. British Journal of General Practice, 47, 521–523.Google Scholar
  11. The NHS Conference. (2008). Compassion in healthcare: The missing dimension of healthcare reform?. Retrieved from
  12. Tower, M., Rowe, & Wallis, M. (2012). Reconceptualising health and health care for women affected by domestic violence. Contemporary Nurse, 42(2), 216–225. Scholar
  13. PSA. (2013). Philippines National Demographic and Health Survey 2013. Retrieved from:
  14. Pe-Pua, R. & Protacio-Marcelino, E. (2000). Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Filipino psychology): A legacy of Virgilio G. Enriquez. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 3, 49–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rungduin, D.C. & Rungduin, T.T. (2013). The emergence of Filipino values among forgiveness studies. International Journal of Research Studies in Psychology 2(4), 17–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Stacey, M. (1988). The sociology of health and healing: A textbook. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Van der Cingel, M. (2014). Compassion: The missing link in quality of care. Nurse Education Today, 34, 1253–1257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Villero, O. (2011). Tradition medicine and healing. In Jonathan H.X. Lee and Kathleen M. Nadeau (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Asian American folklore and folklife: Volume one. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, LLC.Google Scholar
  19. World Economic Forum, Hausmann, R., & Tyson, L. D. (2016). The Global Gender Gap Report 2016. Geneva, Switzerland: World Economic Forum.
  20. Way, D. & Tracy, S. (2012). Conceptualizing Compassion as Recognizing, Relating and (Re)acting: A Qualitative Study of Compassionate Communication at Hospice. Communication Monographs, 79(3), pp. 292–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Mervin Embate
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marie Carisa Ordinario
    • 2
  • Alyssa Batu
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Development CommunicationUniversity of the Philippines Los BañosLos BañosPhilippines
  2. 2.University of the Philippines DilimanQuezon CityPhilippines

Personalised recommendations