National Outstanding Volunteers 2019 Recognized
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18 December 2019 National Outstanding Volunteers 2019 Recognized

Five individuals, two organizations, and three local government units from different parts of the country took center stage during the Search for Outstanding Volunteers (SOV) 2019 Awarding Ceremony, last 16 December 2019 at the House of Representatives, Quezon City. The SOV is an annual activity that aims to recognize the exemplary performance and dedication to service of Filipino volunteers in nation-building and sustainable development. The awards are being given during the culmination of the National Volunteer Month celebration every December. This year’s Outstanding Volunteers were recognized for their invaluable assistance to marginalized communities in the areas of peace, gender, health, environment, disaster risk reduction and management, agriculture, and education.

Leading the awardees this year is Dr. Romulo Davide, Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Awardee for his lifelong commitment to empower poor farmers nationwide through the Farmer –Scientist Training Program (FSTP). Dr. Davide trained farmers in agricultural technologies to increase yields and production. The FSTP is now adopted by the Department of Agriculture as a nationwide program. In his acceptance statement, he emphasized how volunteering can help improve the lives of the poorest of the poor and pledged to continue imparting his knowledge to farmers and indigenous people. "Farmers are heroes of our land, and we should recognize them with dignity. I accept this award not only for myself, but more importantly on their behalf," he said.

Dr. Davide conducts free trainings for marginalized farmers. Dr. Virginia Davide accepted Dr. Davide’s award on his behalf during the Awardiong Ceremony.
A women’s rights and peace advocate from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, Aliah Adam is the sole National Awardee under the Individual-Youth Category. Passionate about gender equality, Aliah founded “Singanen O Mindanao”, a socio-civic youth organization consisting mostly of young women who conduct lectures on gender equality, peace and development, and other advocacy activities on education and gender issues. “ Ms. Adam during the ceremony encouraged others, especially her fellow youth, to volunteer. “Let us continue to give something to our community and make a difference to the people who surround us.”
Ms. Adam conducts lectures to promote her advocacy on peace and gender equality
The National Awardees under the Individual-Adult Category include an educator, a doctor, and an engineer.

Through "Sagip Tingin" and "Hatid Ngiti" projects, public high school teacher Joel Dela Costa organizes free eye operations and free cleft palate surgeries, as well as medical and dental missions and other health and social services for the benefit of the underprivileged communities in CALABARZON. "The happiest people are not those who are receiving but those who give more," he said in his response during the awarding ceremony.
Mr. Dela Costa regularly conducts outreach activities in underprivileged communities. In his speech he reiterated the joy volunteering gives.
Dr. Zsa-Zsa May Meneses merges her passion for health and community service through medical assistance to indigenous communities in Region II and through a summer educational program for Agta children in Cagayan Valley. She also spearheaded the “Kislap Kuliglig” project, which provided farmers with improvised reflectors for their tractors in order to avoid road accidents.
Dr. Meneses regularly conducts medical missions for the Agta Community.
Engr. Cristeta Gallano from Region XI coordinated a feeding program and a housing project. She also provided technical assistance in the conduct of researches on water resource management, which resulted in the improvement of water resources and helped the local government units in Davao City and Bukidnon Province. She also spearheaded the "Feed the Children" and "Build-A-Home" projects that benefitted marginalized communities in Davao City. She is also an active volunteer in the Caritas Parish Volunteer Formation.
Engr. Gallano shares her knowledge on water resource management to local government units.
The two non-profit organization awardees this year are the Soroptimist International of Mandaluyong (SIM) and the University of La Salette Inc. High School (ULSHS) in Santiago City, Isabela.

SIM provides educational and livelihood opportunities for teenage mothers to start anew and provide a better future for themselves and their children. The organization is also implementing the "Feeding Children, Teaching Mothers" program for its children and teenage mother beneficiaries.
SIM during one of the livelihood trainings which they conduct to help women earn extra income.

SIM representatives SIM representatives received their trophy as National Awardee under the Organization-Not-for-Profit category.
The University of the La Salette High School Community Relations and Outreach Program, on the other hand, provides various volunteering opportunities for the students, alumni, faculty, and personnel of the University, as well as other individuals and groups, to foster the spiritual, socio-economic, and sustainable development of its partner communities.
Members of the ULSHS community engage in various outreach projects such as relief operations and dental/medical missions.

Some of the faculty members and students of ULSHS accepted their National Award under the Organization Not-for-Profit category.
This year's Search Committee also gave special awards to three local government units that are implementing outstanding volunteer programs.

Brgy. Poblacion, Burgos, Ilocos Norte is considered a model in barangay-level environmental protection and conservation given its regular coastal and road clean-ups, as well as the Basura Exchange School Tiangge program where children and their parents contribute to the reduction of plastic waste.
Volunteers in Brgy. Poblacion regularly conduct clean-ups in their area.
Mandaluyong City also received an award for its volunteering platform called Mandaluyong Emergency Volunteer Corps, which links with various disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) volunteer organizations to harmonize the city’s emergency and disaster response. The Corps also collaborates with non-government organizations and mobilizes grassroots volunteers in implementing Project Teach, a community-based program for children with special needs.
During this year’s water shortage, volunteers from Mandaluyong City’s partner organizations supplied water to residents.
The Municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet was also recognized for its DRRM program, which includes the mobilization of the La Trinidad Accredited Community Disaster Volunteers and the implementation of “One Responder per Household Project,” a pioneer municipal-level project aiming to ensure community resilience during disasters and calamities.
During this year’s water shortage, volunteers from Mandaluyong City’s partner organizations supplied water to residents.
The awarding ceremony was conducted by the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA), in collaboration with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the House Committee on Peoples Participation chaired by Representative Florida “Rida” Robes.

The year-long search was spearheaded by the PNVSCA and the National Volunteer Month Steering Committee. The nominees from different parts of the country were validated and screened by the SOV Regional Search Committees, which are chaired by: the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for nominees from the National Capital Region; the Regional Planning and Development Office for the nominees from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM); and the NEDA Regional Offices for the nominees in the other 15 administrative regions. The SOV National Selection Committee then deliberated and conducted further background investigation on the shortlisted nominees before coming up with the final awardees. Both the National Volunteer Month Steering Committee and the SOV National Selection Committee are chaired by NEDA Undersecretary for Regional Development Dr. Adoracion M. Navarro.

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