The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) conducted the first meeting of the Regional Volunteerism Focal Person Link (RVFPL) on 19 June 2020 through online. The RVFPL aims to enhance coordination and strengthen partnership with regional bodies to enable PNVSCA to cascade its advocacies up to the grass roots.
According to Executive Director Donald James D. Gawe, the RVFPL is part of PNVSCA’s comprehensive strategy to address the current challenges in volunteering. He expressed hope that with strengthened partnership between the PNVSCA and regional bodies such as the Regional Development Councils (RDC), coordination of volunteering efforts will be facilitated. He emphasized that by adopting a system of coordinating volunteering efforts at the sub-national level, mainstreaming of volunteerism in the programs of regional line agencies, State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) and local government units would not be far-fetched. He thanked the NEDA Regional Offices (NROs), the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao-Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BARMM-BPDA), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government-NCR (DILG-NCR) for serving as the link between the PNVSCA and the regional bodies.
The main agenda items of the meeting included the upcoming celebration of the National Volunteer Month (NVM) 2020; recognition of volunteers in COVID-19 response; and on-going and proposed collaborative activities such as the Be a Volunteer Platform, generation of volunteer statistics information, establishment of the Regional Network of Volunteers and National Volunteer Resource Pool, and engaging professional organizations in volunteerism. PNVSCA also presented the Agency’s request for the inclusion of volunteerism in the Regional Development Plans, the creation of the NEDA Family Volunteer Group, and new partnership initiatives like the Balikabayanihan, a program for helping OFWs affected by COVID-19.
Recognizing that each region may have different needs and approach in responding to the pandemic, PNVSCA also solicited from the RVFPL focal persons other suggestions on the strategies for engaging women and men volunteers based on their regional context or profile to support the government’s fight against the COVID-19.
In his parting message, ED Gawe mentioned his hopes that the current health situation in the country will be better, to allow for the next meetings to be face-to-face rather than just being online. He also expressed his sincere gratitude to the focal persons who attended the meeting and wished them continuous good health.
The online meeting was attended by a total of 37 participants with at least one to two (1 to 2) focal persons representing the DILG-NCR, BARMM-BPDA, and the NROs. Regional Director Leon Dacanay and Asst. Regional Director Agustin Mendoza of NRO III, as well as Regional Director Agnes Espinas -Tolentino of NRO V also graced the event.
(Written by: Tricia Marie Ayala) The author is currently the Program Officer of the Volunteerism for Development Communication and Advocacy Program, Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency.