Written by: Dempsey D. Alariao

The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) held a webinar entitled, “Public Sector Volunteerism: Luzon in Focus” on 28 July 2021 which aimed to increase the participants’ understanding and appreciation of the value of volunteerism and to encourage them to commit to help in facilitating volunteerism mainstreaming in their respective agency plans and programs.

On behalf of NEDA 1 Regional Director Nestor Rillon, Assistant Regional Director Irenea Ubungen delivered the Welcome Message which emphasized that through simple efforts of pakikipag-kapwa tao, pagkalinga and bayanihan, a malasakit society grows us closer to become more humane rather than just being human. RD Rillon’s message said further that this pandemic brought out in each and every one of us the different faces of malasakit, such as imparting our valuable resources for doing more beyond what is expected of us, which reflects the spirit of volunteerism.

Hon. Dakila Carlo “Dax” Cua, President of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) and Governor of Quirino Province, expressed in his Keynote Message his profound gratitude to PNVSCA for actively involving ULAP in this undertaking and for continuously reaching out and working with the LGUs to promote and coordinate volunteer programs and services. He ended by saying that “every citizen may qualify as a civic volunteer. It requires no educational attainment or previous work experience, however, it demands a selfless heart full of grace generated with love.”

The first part of the webinar was an introduction on the basic concepts on volunteerism by PNVSCA Executive Director Donald James D. Gawe.  Volunteerism, as presented by ED Gawe, is an act involving a wide range of activities undertaken according to one’s free will; should be beneficial to other people, to the society and the environment; and monetary reward is not the primary motivating factor. He also shared the different types of volunteering and key policies that support the practice of volunteerism.

The second part focused on public sector values and volunteerism, and sharing of good volunteering and volunteer management practices of public sector organizations.  Mr. Mark Anthony G. Malitan of the Civil Service Commission – Civil Service Institute (CSC-CSI) shared the importance of Shared Values that creates a culture in doing voluntary activities. He also discussed the core public sector values of patriotism, integrity, excellence and spirituality (PIES), which serve as drivers to achieve the vision and mission in implementing and doing volunteer activities. Mr. Malitan further added that these values should be manifested constantly to achieve the desired transformation for our society. 

The Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) also shared that amidst the pandemic, the “Bayanihan” spirit was reignited as LBP employees became volunteer heroes in their own ways, no matter how small. The LBP institutionalized its Volunteerific programs like Gawad Patnubay, funded by the Landbankers through voluntary salary contribution; and Gawad Katubigan, where Landbankers provided their beneficiaries water filtration systems to have access to clean drinking water, especially in disaster-stricken communities.

Talking about generosity and kindness, Ms. Carmen Auste, Co-Founder of the Cancer Warriors Foundation, shared her various volunteering experiences that enabled people to cross boundaries of faith, principles or politics. She added that as individuals and organizations united, contributed and provided assistance through their volunteer activity, many communities and families received food and water in times of calamity. She also shared that from being able to help someone during the pandemic, the beneficiary-turned-volunteer, was also able to give back with the help of other people, by giving donations to the cancer patients of the Foundation.

The webinar concluded with a message from NEDA V Regional Director Agnes Espinas-Tolentino.  RD Tolentino expressed hope that the remarkable stories of volunteers would push our spirits to commit, advocate and participate to mainstream volunteerism in all that we do. She also explained that “it is only that person who caught the spirit and has the heart for volunteerism, who could in fact effectively and successfully implement the programs and projects. It is the one with the transformed heart.” She ended her message by enjoining everyone to have a transformed heart and mind towards volunteerism.

The Public Sector Volunteerism webinar was participated in by more than 33 representatives from various national government agencies (NGAs), government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), local government units (LGUs), and non-government organizations (NGOs).

The author is currently the Administrative Aide VI, Office of the Executive Director, 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.