Attended by a total of 79 participants composed of Volunteerism Focal Persons (VFPs) and technical staff from 48 local government units (LGUs), four (4) National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Offices, and five (5) Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Offices, the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) facilitated the first meeting cum orientation of the third batch of VFPs via Zoom video conferencing on 29 October 2020 from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM.

PNVSCA Executive Director Donald James D. Gawe emphasized in his opening remarks that the orientation meeting aims to increase the LGU partners’ awareness and appreciation on the importance of volunteerism as a cross-cutting and sustainable strategy and as a tool to achieve local and national development goals. He expressed hope that by the end of the meeting, everyone would be able to speak the same language on volunteerism and that the LGUs and the national government would move toward the same direction.  ED Gawe also conveyed the national government’s recognition of the contribution of local volunteering efforts to national development.

Among the topics discussed by PNVSCA volunteer service officers were the following: (1) Volunteerism 101 that provided basic volunteerism concepts, and the related legislations and policy framework; (2) the role of PNVSCA in the voluntary sector and its thrusts and priorities including the current initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and (3) PNVSCA’s initial efforts to strengthen sub-national mechanism to mainstream volunteerism as a development strategy. On the other hand, the LGUs of Midsayap (Cotabato) and Cabuyao City (Laguna) shared their experiences in engaging volunteers during this time of the pandemic and presented their volunteer programs–Sustainable Effective and Responsible Volunteerism Engagement (SERVE) and Bayanihan sa Cabuyao (BayaniCa), respectively.

LGU Midsayap’s Localized Amelioration Program: 100 volunteers, 10,000 HHs in 30 days in 57 barangays

As Chairperson of the Sub-Task Unit on Civil Society Organization (CSO) Partnership, Director Gawe also gave an overview of DILG’s Memorandum Circular (MC) 2020-135 entitled, “Mobilization of CSOs in COVID-19 Related Response and Recovery Programs of the Government” which prescribes the general guidelines and procedure for the mobilization and engagement of CSOs, private sector organizations, and volunteer groups and/or individuals in the implementation of COVID-19 response and recovery programs of the government.  The LGUs were enjoined to submit to their respective Local Government Operations Officer (LGOO) a monthly report (from October to December 2020) on increase in the number of CSOs mobilized or engaged in the fight against COVID-19.

It was noted in the polls that the participants were from various regions in the country with Mindanao having the largest representation at 32 percent followed by Northern Luzon and the Visayas. It is also interesting to note that participants did not observe any gender issues or concerns in their locality, and that there is no discrimination on volunteerism among genders as men, women and the LGBTQ+ are volunteering in their communities.  Majority or 52 percent also confirmed that most of the volunteers in their community are middle-aged or from the ages 31 to 59 years old.  In responding to COVID-19, majority of the participants said that it would be easier to engage civil society organizations and people’s organizations if there is a national directive; 76 percent of them also said that there is no volunteerism-related ordinance of policy in their local government.

To date, there are 224 LGUs with designated VFPs, of which 80 percent or 180 VFPs were able to attend the orientation meetings convened by PNVSCA.

The author is currently the Supervising Volunteer Service Officer of the Program Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation Division of the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency.

For inquiries, please contact: 

Program Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation Division
Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVCSA)
Ground Floor, Philippine Sugar Center
North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
Phone: +63 (02) 3453 4726, +63 (02) 8927 6847
Email: pcmed@pnvsca.gov.ph Website: http://www.pnvsca.gov.ph 
Facebook: facebook.com/PNVSCA