Written by: Kenneth C. Siruelo

Despite the uncertainties brought about by the invisible and lethal virus which is COVID-19, many Filipinos remained steadfast on their belief that they can do what they are supposed to do, “bring hope and change lives,” through volunteering.

This was confirmed through the sharing of Seventeen (17) LGUs in a Webinar organized by the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) on 23 February 2021.

The Forum was held to think of ways on how to harness volunteerism and mainstream it in the agency plans and programs of every LGU.

Gov. Dakila Carlo “Dax” E. Cua, Governor of the Province of Quirino and the National Chairperson, League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) and theNational President, Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) stressed the importance of institutionalization of volunteer programs at the LGU level to ensure sustainability and consistency of efforts. Gov. Cua added that at the discretion of the LGUs concerned, this can be done through local legislation or any other instruments and mechanisms. He also pushed for the inclusion and participation of local volunteers sector in local government planning, implementation and monitoring as both stakeholders and service providers saying that LGUs can certainly benefit from the experience, expertise and insights of our community volunteers in crafting and implementing programs and projects to address the varying needs of the LGUs respective constituencies.

During the workshop, LGUs shared how they mobilized their respective Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams, Private Motorcycle Groups, Barangay Public Safety Offices, Balik Bayan Organizations, the Academe, Women’s Organizations and other sectors who wholeheartedly volunteered to help them advocate COVID-19 related information and augment its resources and staff towards the delivery of basic and essential services and in maintaining peace and security.

Speakers invited to broaden the participants understanding on volunteerism include Mr. Jay Ancheta, the senior volunteer programs manager at Habitat for Humanity International-Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Mark Anthony G. Malitan of the Civil Service Institute-Civil Service Commission and Ms. Joezet Maglaque of the Mandaluyong City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.

In his closing message read by Mr. Kenneth C. Siruelo, PNVSCA Executive Director Donald James D. Gawe shared that PNVSCA will extend to the LGUs the necessary technical support they most need in setting up a volunteer engaging program and to continuously coordinate and consult with them in coming up with policies for the protection of volunteers and the enhancement of the practice of volunteerism across sector towards making volunteerism a way of life for every Filipino.

Mr. Roberto “Ambet” M. Yangco, Program Manager of the Children, Youth and Family (CYF) Project and the Programming Team Lead of the United States Peace Corps Philippines facilitated the conduct of the webinar.

The author is currently the Officer-In-Charge, Policy, Advocacy and Technical Services Division (PATSD), Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency.

Visit PNVSCA website (www.pnvsca.gov.ph) and PNVSCA Facebook (facebook.com/PNVSCA) for other stories and information on volunteering.