Written by: Arianne C. Maghanoy

MOU signing between PNVSCA and CFO
(Left to Right) CFO-PMD Director Marita D. Apattad, CFO Secretary Francisco P. Acosta,
PNVSCA Exec. Director Donald James D. Gawe and PNVSCA OIC Deputy Director Ela Victoria F. Sarmago

The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to upscale the implementation of the BaLinkBayan Project on May 10, 2022 at the CFO Office in Paco, Manila. The MOU, signed by CFO Secretary Francisco P. Acosta (Ret. Justice) and PNVSCA Executive Director Donald James D. Gawe, marks the start of a strong and strategic partnership between PNVSCA and CFO in fulfilling the pledge to inspire more Overseas Filipinos to be agents of altruism and volunteerism by collaborating on the development and philanthropic potential of migration through the BaLinkBayan Program.

In his opening remarks, CFO Secretary Acosta expressed optimism that “the partnership will be able to reach out to more kababayans in different parts of the world and provide more opportunities for them to engage in philanthropic activities, thereby assisting the less fortunate here in the Philippines.” He added that the partnership will undoubtedly help provide more effective assistance to overseas Filipinos.

Director Marie Apattad, on the other hand, delivered a presentation about the BaLinkbayan Program to further the audience’s understanding of the project. Launched in 2013, CFO’s BaLinkBayan is an Overseas Filipinos’ One-Stop Online Portal for Diaspora Engagement that aims to connect expatriate Filipinos to social and economic development activities in the Philippines and its many locales by providing a diverse range of options to partner with national and local governments in starting a business, skills exchange, opportunities for donation and volunteer service, and accessing online government services.

CFO-PMD Director Marie Apattad presenting the perceived benefits of the BaLinkBayan Program

PNVSCA’s Upscaling Volunteerism Efforts was presented by OIC Deputy Executive Director Ela Victoria F. Sarmago. She began her presentation by sharing the long-term vision of the voluntary sector in the country which is “Volunteerism as a way of life of every Filipino,” then followed by a presentation of PNVSCA’s current initiatives to upscale volunteering efforts such as the preparation of the Philippine Volunteer Agenda and Framework Plan, intensifying advocacy, providing relevant technical assistance, recognizing volunteers’ contribution to the achievement of development goals and objectives, strengthening coordination and partnerships, statistics, research and knowledge management, and monitoring and evaluation.

PNVSCA OIC Deputy Executive Director Ela Victoria F. Sarmago presenting
the Agency’s current volunteering initiatives

To cap off the significant MOU signing, Executive Director Donald James D. Gawe delivered his closing remarks where he said, “Together, PNVSCA and CFO envision the BaLinkBayan Program as an integrated and unique platform to re-engage Overseas Filipinos through investment, philanthropy, and volunteerism. The partnership signifies that both parties are committed to achieving their mutual goal of making the country a better place through citizen engagement and partnership.”

The MOU signing was also witnessed by over 60 virtual participants from other national government agencies of the central and regional offices, local government units, and partners from the private sector and volunteer service organizations.


The author is currently the Volunteer Service Officer I of the Policy, Advocacy, and Technical Service Division, 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.