Written by: John Vincent M. Mañosca
Mr. Donald James Gawe, the Executive Director of the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) delivered the keynote address emphasizing volunteerism and PNVSCA during the Volunteer’s Summit 2022 hosted by South Manila Educational Consortium on 14 October 2022. The event was held online via Zoom.
The event, with the theme “Enriching Volunteerism in the New Normal through Learning Exchanges”, showcased the experiences and good practices from volunteering activities of the education sector, with an emphasis on new, innovative strategies that will further support volunteerism especially in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ED Gawe thanked everyone in attendance for participating in the event, especially the SMEC partner schools.
“Our vision, and the vision of the entire volunteering community is to [further] inculcate volunteerism as a way of life for every Filipino,” said ED Gawe. He discussed the key concepts surrounding volunteerism, its importance, and reasons why people volunteer. He also discussed Republic Act 9418 or the Volunteer Act of 2007, which provided PNVSCA the constitutional mandate to promote and coordinate volunteerism services and activities in the country. At the latter part of the presentation, ED Gawe shared how higher education institutions (HEIs) can further the cause of volunteerism and reinforcing it as a development strategy to contribute to the nation’s overall development.
Lastly, ED Gawe touched on the upcoming National Volunteer Month (NVM) which is celebrated every December. He presented the NVM 2022 Calendar, which showcased the planned activities of the Agency and its partners to commemorate volunteerism for the entire month of December.
A question-and-answer segment commenced after ED Gawe’s presentation. Among the questions asked were the challenges the director has faced when it comes to volunteer work. ED Gawe brought up the commitment of individual volunteers, noting that after joining PNVSCA, he realized that we must not only look at the organizations implementing volunteer activities, but the responsibilities of the volunteers themselves as well. He also added that one of the challenges for the government is to establish a registry of volunteers.
Dean Desire Estrada of Emilio Aguinaldo College – School of Criminology suggested that volunteerism may be integrated in the NSTP curriculum. ED Gawe answered that the Philippine NSTP Educators and Implementers, Inc. (PSNEI) has already reached out to PNVSCA to comment on their module which integrates volunteerism in the curriculum. ED Gawe promptly suggested that SMEC should also look into the module.
The welcome message for the program was delivered by Ms. Leonora Astete, SMEC Committee Chair, where she recognized ED Gawe’s passion for volunteer work. Other resource persons include Fr. Marcelo Manimtim, CM, president of SMEC and Adamson University, who inspired the attendees with a recorded inspirational message on the value of volunteerism and how it can enact change. Students and alumni from St. Paul University – Manila, UP Manila, Emilio Aguinaldo College, and De La Salle – College of St. Benilde also shared their experiences as student volunteers, and how they had to adjust their strategy due to the pandemic. Community representatives also shared how they were benefited by volunteering acts of SMEC partner schools. The closing message was delivered by Anthony Cordero, MD of University of the Philippines – Manila, who hoped that the knowledge and insights learned by the participants in the Summit will not only stay in their minds, but also use them to go out and participate in volunteer programs. He also lauded ED Gawe for mentioning mainstreaming volunteerism in the education curriculum in his keynote.
SMEC is a group of 12 HEIs in Manila that work together to champion education as a social transformation tool by making it accessible for everyone. Almost 500 participants representing students, staff members, and community partners from SMEC member schools joined the event. These schools include Adamson University, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, De La Salle University, Emilio Aguinaldo College, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Philippine Christian University, Philippine Normal University – Manila, Philippine Women’s University, Santa Isabel College Manila, St. Paul University – Manila, St. Scholastica’s College, and the University of the Philippines – Manila.
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.