Written by: John Vincent M. Mañosca
The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) recently conducted the Forum on Volunteerism in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) on 08 September 2022 at Silliman University in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental to increase awareness and appreciation of men and women representatives of HEIs on the benefits of integrating volunteerism in the education curriculum and the role of the government in this advocacy. The forum was a venue for exchange and sharing of experiences and good practices on implementing volunteerism-related programs and initiatives in the academe such as the setting up of mechanisms to involve and engage the students, alumni, faculty and staff in volunteering initiatives. It was also an opportunity for the participants to explore areas for collaboration and partnerships especially on mainstreaming volunteerism as a mechanism for nation building.
As PNVSCA’s partner in the conduct of this forum, Silliman University, through its Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Earl Jude Paul L. Cleope, welcomed the participants and reiterated their unyielding support for PNVSCA and its mandate. “May we all be inspired to contribute to nation-building through volunteerism,” said Dr. Cleope.
PNVSCA Volunteer Service Officer Ms. Fely M. Baday gave an overview of the forum and presented the objectives of the activity. This was followed by a presentation on the basic concepts of volunteerism as well as the salient points of RA 9418 or the Volunteer Act of 2007 by PNVSCA’s Executive Director, Mr. Donald James D. Gawe. Dir. Gawe emphasized the role of the HEIs in integrating volunteerism in the curriculum. He said that public HEIs are also mandated to implement volunteer programs. He likewise mentioned the dearth of local researches on volunteerism and thus challenged the HEIs to include volunteerism in their research agenda. He mentioned that PNVSCA with the assistance of the Australian Volunteer Program have crafted the National Volunteerism Research Agenda.
PNVSCA’s Information System Analyst II, Mr. Jhan Bhenedict Gamba, then discussed the Volunteer Engagement in the Public Sector (VEPS) Reporting Portal, an online platform initiated by PNVSCA that shall collect, process, and generate reports on the engagement of volunteers by the national government agencies and local government units.
To provide examples on volunteer program implementation by HEIs, Negros Oriental State University’s Mr. Julio E. Ventolero, Director of Student Affairs and Services, as well as NSTP, and Silliman University’s Mr. Novee Maestrecampo Jr., OIC Director of OCESL shared the experiences of their respective schools.
In his session, Mr. Maestrecampo expressed that, “In Silliman [University], we adopt this philosophy of volunteerism that when you volunteer, it should be done by choice without monetary reward, and at the same time, most importantly, for the benefit of the community.”
On the other hand, Mr. Ventolero emphasized that NOrSU has a lot to share in terms of volunteerism. He later added that “[People must use their] talents given by God to serve others in a variety of ways”.
An open forum commenced after the sharing sessions and a closing message was delivered by Executive Director Gawe.
The forum was hosted and moderated by Mr. John Christian V. Entrata, Executive President of SU’s Student Government. Thirty (30) HEI representatives from various universities and colleges around Dumaguete City, including SU student volunteers, attended the event which was held at the more than 100-year old Silliman Hall of the University.
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.