Message of Secretary Pernia during the National Conference on Volunteerism
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08 January 2018 Message of Secretary Pernia during the National Conference on Volunteerism

Distinguished guests, fellow workers in the government, colleagues, our dynamic partners from the not-for-profit organizations , corporate and the academe, friends, allies, ladies, and gentlemen, good morning.

It is truly an honor to be here and give you this keynote message in behalf of the Secretary Pernia for the 2017 National Conference on Volunteerism to celebrate the National Volunteer Month.

The values of volunteerism have been deeply ingrained in our culture. Pagkakawanggawa , Bahaginan, and Pahinungod. We have so many words for this in our language. It could be because volunteerism is an intrinsic characteristics of Filipinos to stand up and serve others in times of need . We have seen great examples of volunteerism in our history, especially at times when the situation called for it.

We never hesitate to help a family member going through a rough time, a neighbor who is in a dire situation , or a community devastated by a disaster by a disaster.

Borne out of compassion and humaneness, volunteerism is indeed a good exercise for our hearts- to serve others without expecting anything in return. It is crucial to nation-building and in our pursuit to achieve inclusive socioeconomic development. It brings us together regardless of status. It builds mutual trust and social cohesion. It inspires. It establishes solid relationships among organizations, all of which are essential in securing in securing a stable and sustained society.
The present administration appreciates the importance of volunteerism. And so, the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 cited volunteerism as one of the strategies towards the realization of a "Matatag, Maginhawa, at Panatag na Buhay", our collective vision for the country in the next 25 years, which we have expressed in the Ambisyon Nation 2040.

As such, we see volunteerism as vital in harnessing the engagement of civil society in the affairs of the government. It promotes a consultative process in policy and decision-making. And it augments public responsibility in managing programs and activities for holistic and sustainable growth.

The government and the private sector are enjoined to work closely together and open platforms for inclusive volunteering. Hence, we empower ordinary citizens to take an active role in information sharing, public resource management and conflict resolution. As a result, we strengthen the democratic institution for nation-building and support the aims of the PDP 2017-2022 - to "lay a foundation for inclusive growth, a high-trust society, and a globally competitive economy."

The strategies to achieve the development targets are summed up into three pillars: Malasakit, Pagbabago, and Patuloy na Pag-unlad. Volunteerism revolves around the same core elements of service or "bayanihan" to effect change to partner groups and communities, and to empower them for sustainable development.

"Malasakit," is the first pillar, fundamentally calls us to show concern for others. When we start caring for each other, we establish a more bonded and trusting society, and create a more cooperative spirit. Transactions among different sectors will be facilitated and concluded quickly because of mutual confidence. Our culture influences the direction of our socioeconomic change.

The second pillar, " Pagbabago" , is the transformation of society which can be achieved by reducing inequality and empowering the poor and marginalized sector. Poverty reduction is a long holistic process of consciousness-raising , capacity-building, and resources –generation. We see volunteers reach out to remote and underserved communities where basic services and economic opportunities are inadequate , if not absent. They help raise the bar of socioeconomic status in those communities.

The third pillar, " Patuloy na Pag-unlad," is a call to sustain the gains of our development efforts and further accelerate growth and become prepared for global challenges. This entails technology enhancements, efficient systems in programs and services, and sound ecological management, among others. These areas need the convergent support of all sectors – the academic community, the NGOs, the business community, and the governemtn – in advocating for change , in preparing and tranisitoning the citizenry for new development trends, and in managing the effects of change.

NEDA thanks the volunteer community spearheaded by the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (or PNVSCA) for its efforts to come up with a policy agenda for the volunteerism sector, which is the objective of today’s activity.

Volunteerism, like development, is constantly evolving. Thus , we have to adapt to the changing times. In order to do that we must have this policy agenda in place. It will be an effective tool in strengthening the mechanisms and structure of the volunteering sector.

The task we are about to tackle is complex. Finalizing the policy agenda for volunteerism requires a lot of considerations, consultations , and comprehensive understanding of critical issues concerning our sector. However, I believe that with your dedication and passion, we can do this together.

We are doing this not merely because it is our job but because we are driven to make sure that no Filipino is left behind. Somewhere in underprivileged communities, there are people with huge potentials longing for that opportunity to grow, to overcome the challenges of living in conditions they found themselves in. Like most Filipinos, they would want to live comfortably and securely, with strong family and community bonds. A " matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay para sa lahat " is our collective aspiration and is an aspiration we need to achieve through collective efforts.

Let this be our source of inspiration for each of us to share our skills, talents, and resources in helping others and in building a united and resilient nation.

In closing, I would like to commend each and every one of you for gracing this event. Thank you for your cooperation and support to the efforts of the government in ensuring a better quality of life for every Filipino. This early, let me extend my sincerest congratulations to all of you for championing volunteerism for inclusive development. I trust that through our concerted effort, we will be able to realize the policy agenda and action plan for volunteerism we so critically need.

Thank you and mabuhay tayong lahat!

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