Representatives of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) along with its attached agencies convened its first National Steering Committee (NSC) online meeting last 8 July 2020 in relation to the proposed NEDA and Attached Agencies Volunteer Group.

For this year, the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) is designated to spearhead the activities of the group. In his opening remarks, PNVSCA Executive Director Donald James D. Gawe said that, “This is a pioneering initiative, in a sense that this is the first time that NEDA and its attached agencies are coming together to implement something on volunteerism. With the end in view, of course, of increasing and improving the volunteerism spirit of the NEDA and its attached agencies officials and members.”

Conversations in the meeting focused on the updated concept note of the volunteer group, terms of reference of the NSC, and the proposed activity for the year, wherein comments and approval were sought from each representative present at the meeting.  This included the main purpose of the volunteer group which is to inculcate the culture of volunteerism among the women and men employees of NEDA and its attached agencies, thus, contributing to the country’s vision of a “Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay”. On the naming of the group, the suggestion of Commission on Population and Development Deputy Executive Director Lolito L. Tacardon “BayaNEDAhan” was adopted in view of the value of bayanihan.  Director Tacardon mentioned that the concept behind the name pertains to the capability of the group to work collectively and together beyond each member’s official function and personal interests towards a common goal. He also added that the concept of bayanihan is indeed capturing the group’s intentions. The committee approved the concept note as a working document subject to revisions mentioned during the discussions and the flexibility and openness to revise it when needed.

The approved terms of reference of the NSC articulated the purpose of the committee, which is to provide support for the implementation of the Volunteer Program, as well as the composition and roles of the committee members.

The proposed activity for the year which aims to provide technical assistance to target barangays using volunteering work was also approved in principle but the implementation mechanics will be detailed out in the succeeding meetings. The initiative seeks to provide an opportunity to the women and men of the NEDA and Attached Agencies (NAAA) Family Volunteer Group to share their time, talent, or treasure for the empowerment of barangay officials and helping identified vulnerable groups in the barangay. The initiative shall start with the conduct of a survey among NAAA officials and employees to map out and have an overview of their appreciation and willingness to volunteer. As part of the next steps, it was agreed upon that the Secretariat (PNVSCA) will submit the revised baseline matrixes, the final concept note and terms of references to the committee for review and further improvement.

The meeting was chaired and presided by Mr. Greg L. Pineda, NEDA Assistant Secretary of the Corporate Affairs Group. HEA Aladin A. Ancheta and EA Jon Martin V. Bustos also attended as representatives of the Office of the Secretary of NEDA. Representatives of the attached agencies who attended are as follows: Ms. Diana Hope M. Castro of Tariff Commission; Director Tacardon and Ms Lyneth Therese C. Monsalve of Commission on Population and Development; Deputy Executive Director Eleazar E. Ricote and Ms. Maria Theresa L. Laranang of the Public-Private Partnership Center; Mr. Oliver Chancoco of the Philippine Statistics Authority; Ms. Christine Ruth Salazar of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.

The author is currently the Program Officer, Volunteerism for Development Communication and Advocacy Program, Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency.

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