Written by: Arianne Maghanoy

It has been almost a year since our country was hit by the COVID-19. People tried to cope up with the changes and challenges brought by it. The volunteer sector has been greatly affected and many volunteers and volunteer-service organizations made several adjustments to comply with the protocols so as to deliver the services needed by the people, especially those who are in disadvantaged situations; yet, these did not waiver their desire and commitment to help. And this holds true as well for our volunteers from the academe sector. 

To further strengthen volunteerism in the academe amidst the pandemic, the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) conducted a webinar entitled “Public Sector Volunteerism for Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) and State Universities and Colleges last 26 February 2021. Speakers in the webinar gave the participants a wider perspective on volunteerism, and provided ideas for them to appreciate the value of volunteerism in their respective sectors and organizations, strengthen their existing initiatives, and how they can further engage volunteers during this time of crisis.

Dr. Dexter R. Buted, President of Pangasinan State University, shared the common concerns on volunteerism among the LUCs and SUCs and the University’s experience in implementing their programs, projects and activities (PPAs), such as environmental conservations (tree planting and coastal clean-up), disaster response (Taal Volcano eruption), and relief operations (typhoon stricken areas), to name a few. Dr. Buted ended his presentation by encouraging the participants to continue making a difference. He said that, “There is no error more serious than this: to think that we cannot make a difference. No lasting progress has ever been made except by one person at a time. One good deed at a time. One life at a time. One dream at a time. The common trend that binds all examples of volunteerism together is the need to accomplish a greater good.”

Mr. Mark Anthony G. Malitan of the Civil Service Institute-Civil Service Commission discussed the Public Sector Values, highlighting four (4) important values that should guide a public servant, which are Patriotism, Integrity, Excellence and Spirituality. He stressed that these may also be applied as values in volunteering.

Professor Ruben M. Gamala, Director of Ugnayan ng Pahinungod Visayas and Chair of the Gurong Pahinungod System Working Group, shared the basic principles of, and several policies and laws on volunteerism. He wrapped up his presentation by highlighting that, “The work of a volunteer cannot be paid because it is priceless and it is a journey to a better you.” 

During the workshop, the participants shared their experiences and challenges encountered in conducting/formulating volunteering activities during the pandemic, as well as their need for capacity building programs, resource materials and technical assistance from the agency. PNVSCA Executive Director, Donald James D. Gawe, in his closing message read by Ms. Ela Victoria F. Sarmago, Chief of PNVSCA’s Program Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PCMED), expressed that the Agency will be happy to provide them with the technical assistance needed.

Dr. Maria Faina L. Diola, Associate Professor of the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP NCPAG) facilitated the conduct of the webinar which was attended by 187 participants.

The author is currently the Volunteer Service Officer I of the 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.