Written by: John Vincent Mañosca
TAGUIG CITY, PHILIPPINES – The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) in partnership with the Australian Volunteers Program (AVP), conducted the National Volunteerism Research Agenda (NVRA) workshop on 18-19 May 2022, at the F1 Hotel Manila in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
The first NVRA is being formulated to provide a framework for the priority research agenda to address issues related to volunteerism and its surrounding concepts for the next several years.
In his welcoming remarks, Asec. Greg Pineda of NEDA Regional Development Group emphasized that, “We always say that volunteerism–bayanihan–has long been ingrained in Filipino culture, yet, there are very few studies in the country that focus on this.” Asec. Pineda emphasized the importance of research by saying, “Research is an invaluable tool that can help us understand why things are the way they are. Also, research can guide us on our next steps on whatever venture we are participating in, say, policy-formulation for the government sector, or curriculum development for the academe.”
The NVRA workshop started with context setting where PNVSCA Executive Director Donald James D. Gawe presented the goals of the Philippine Volunteerism Agenda and Framework Plan (PVAFP) in the next six years until 2040. He stressed that “One of the purposes of the [PVAFP] is to harness the potential of volunteerism as a development strategy. In the Philippines, mutual help and spontaneous volunteering is common. The spirit of bayanihan is strong especially during calamities. [We have] people who would help during disasters, etc. But, what we want to put in place is a mechanism where all of this informal volunteering would be harnessed so it would really become a strategy for development.” ED Gawe added that the NVRA will serve as a companion document of the PVAFP. It contains the priority researches that will be pursued to help achieve the objectives and targets of the PVAFP.
Mr. Thanh Le, Counsellor for Development of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) – Manila, delivered the special message for the participants of the workshop. “The challenge from me to you in developing this agenda and in developing this framework is to think about what intrinsic value you will bring to those volunteers that entice them not only to volunteer but to continue to come back.” Mr. Le said.
Other topics presented as input to the workshops are: (1) Background/Workshop Overview by Nathan Revilla of AVP; (2) Global/Philippine Standard on Volunteering by Paul Buenconsejo of the Philippine Coalition on Volunteerism, Inc. (PhilCV); (3) Philippine Higher Education Research Consortium by Dr. Mary Sylvette Gunigundo from the Commission on Higher Education; (4) RDC 1 Regional Research Agenda by NEDA ARD Dr. Irenea Ubungen; (5) Available Researches and Possible Data Sources for Researches on Volunteerism by Dr. Josefina Almeda of Philippine Statistical Research and Training Institute; (6) An Evaluation Study of a USG Professional Development Program by Dr. Lynderia Cheevers of USPC; and (7) Resources on volunteering and Entry Points for Collaboration by Dr. Paul Ernest N. De Leon of Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) and Mr. Jonathan Hunter of AVP.
PNVSCA staff together with the Ateneo de Davao University’s Mr. Romulo Vinci R. Bueza and Regin Ruis B. Oliveros, Silliman University’s Mr. Novee E. Maestrecampo Jr., NEDA Region I’s Ms.Fatima Ross E. Perez and Ms. Ma. Cristina G. Cariño, PCRHD’s Dr. Paul Ernest N. De Leon, Prof. Gamala and Dr. Diola facilitated and documented the workshops on: (1) Identifying Existing Data and Researches and Research Gaps or Topics, (2) Prioritization of the Identified Research Agenda, (3) Preparation of the Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Plan, and (4) Developing the Communication Plan.
To close the NVRA workshop, AVP Philippines Program Manager Myles Liquigan reiterated the need for a “blueprint to direct us to a new strategic approach that can truly leverage the power of volunteering by focusing on the buzz words since the pandemic [started]: ‘inclusion, innovation, actions’.”
The hybrid event, moderated by Dr. Maria Faina Diola from UP-National College of Public Administration and Governance and Prof. Ruben Gamala from UP Visayas for the first and second days of the workshop, respectively, was participated by around 25 onsite and 69 online participants representing different sectors including national government agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations, local government units, academic institutions, civil society organizations, and local and international volunteer service organizations.
PNVSCA is the national agency mandated to promote and cultivate a culture of volunteerism in the Philippines.
The author is currently the Volunteerism for Development Communication and Advocacy Program (V4DCAP) Officer of the 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.