Written by: John Vincent M. Mañosca
QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES – The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) convened an inter-agency technical working group (TWG) on 29 September 2022 at the Sugar Regulatory Administration Session Hall, Sugar Center Building, Diliman, Quezon City to discuss preparations for the National Volunteer Month (NVM) celebration in December. Prior to discussing the NVM activities the group, was able to: (a) validate issues/concerns on volunteerism for submission to the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) Planning Committees; (b) Identify agenda items for the upcoming Multi-Sectoral Advisory Body (MSAB); and (c) share updates on ongoing initiatives of PNVSCA and the members. The TWG is composed of the members of the Multi-Sectoral Advisory Body (MSAB) and the National Volunteer Month Steering Committee (NVM-SC) and agencies with volunteering initiatives.
On the volunteerism issues for submission to the PDP Planning Committees, Ms. Fely Baday, Officer-in-Charge of the Policy, Advocacy, and Technical Services Division of PNVSCA presented the key issues on volunteerism as summarized by PNVSCA. She also discussed briefly the link between gender and development.
One of the issues on volunteerism discussed by Ms. Baday was the weak coordination mechanism for volunteerism programs. Ms. Helen Orande from the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) raised a point that a road map for volunteerism was created before and that it might be appropriate for the Agency to look into this. PNVSCA Executive Director Donald James Gawe replied that road map was indeed created by the private sector; however, PNVSCA has also initiated the Philippine Volunteerism Agenda and Framework Plan (PVAFP), the first-ever plan and agenda developed for the volunteer sector in the country, to address this concern.
Mr. Von Mark Mendoza, Special Assistant to the Governor of Pangasinan, raised that while volunteerism as a policy is relatively new to their province, they are committed to fully implement this and are already taking steps to recognize volunteerism as a strategy for development.
Moving forward to the provisional agenda of the upcoming Regular MSAB Meeting, ED Gawe presented the topics to be tackled under the new business as follows: (a) Highlights of 18 November 2021 MSAB Meeting; (b) Selection of Private Sector Representative to PNVSCA-MSAB; (c) Mainstreaming of Volunteerism in the PDP: Summary of Key Issues on Volunteerism and Gender; (d) Research on Voluntourism: Presentation of Project Output; and (e) National Volunteer Month 2022 Calendar of Activities.
Ms. Christina Mckernan of the Department of Foreign Affairs suggested that an activity dedicated to volunteerism in the context of women and gender should be considered for the NVM celebration, which coincides with the country’s 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) from 25 November to 12 December. Mr. Carlos Fundador T. Jayoma of the Department of the Interior and Local Government also suggested that since we are still living in a pandemic, volunteerism in the health sector should be considered as well.
For the sharing of on-going initiatives of PNVSCA, Ms. Baday highlighted the following: (a) finalization of the National Volunteer Research Agenda (NVRA) and the Philippine Volunteerism Agenda and Framework Plan (PVAFP); (b) Improvement of knowledge management and setting-up of mechanisms for gathering volunteerism statistics; (c) Effective coordination, monitoring and evaluation of national and local volunteerism programs and international assistance; and (d) Conduct of advocacy activities and provision of technical assistance on volunteerism.
Ms. Mckernan recognized PNVSCA’s initiatives, noting that the sending of Filipino volunteers overseas must be strengthened. She also added that the Philippines have numerous volunteer organizations that can be replicated by other countries, and by encouraging said action may boost the country’s reputation abroad.
For the members present, Ms. Edna Sacedor, OIC Director of the Social Welfare Institutional Development Bureau (SWIBD) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DWSD) and Ms. Magdalena Del Rio from the Civil Service Commission – Public Assistance and Information Office (CSC-PAIO) both shared their volunteering initiatives for beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), with the former focusing on Bayanihang Bayan.
The discussion on PNVSCA’s target activities for the upcoming NVM celebration was led by ED Gawe. He said that the month-long celebration includes the following highlights: Kickoff Event on December 1 to be held in Lingayen, Pangasinan, the International Volunteer Day celebration to be held on December 5 in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, and the Awarding Ceremony for the Search for Outstanding Volunteers (SOV) to be held in the NCR on 12 December 2022, PNVSCA Partnership Event on December 29 and various fora which is spread in various dates from December 2 to 28. The participating agencies pledged their support for PNVSCA’s activities for the NVM, most especially the numerous volunteerism fora on various topics and sectors.
To close the meeting, ED Gawe expressed his gratitude to the agencies present during the TWG meeting, stating that he is looking forward to the collaboration with the participating agencies for the conduct of the NVM activities, as well as other concerns for volunteerism for development.
Attendees to the meeting include Asya Marie L. Barrios of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Ms. Christina Mckernan of DFA, Atty. Jane Hazel Marie S. Garcia-Doble of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Ms. Edna J. Sacedor and Ms. Leelin Dino of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Atty. Stacy G. Quinsay and Migel S. Demdam if the Office of the President – Presidential Management Staff (OP-PMS), Mr. Carlos Fundador T. Jayoma of DILG, Ms. Grace G. Noche of One Meralco Foundation (OMF), Mr. Mark Anthony Fernandez of the National Youth Commission (NYC), Ms. Magdalena A. Del Rio of CSC, Ms. Melanie B. Ronquillo of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Ms. Helend Orande of IAVE, Mr. Robert Yangco of the United States Peace Corps (USPC), Ms. Sam Daniella Matulac of the University of the Philippines – Diliman Ugnayan ng Pahinungod, Mr. Von Mark Mendoza of PG Pangasinan, Ms. Lyneth Therese Monsalve of the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM), JINSP Laiza Jane L. Polingga and JO1 Ma Cherrie B. Serrano of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Ms. Mary Shayne Ann O. Maramba of the Parole and Probations Administration (PPA), Supt. Joel Karl R. Blando and FO2 Amado O. Benitez Jr. of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Mr. Erwin Paul S. Cristobal of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), and Ms. Shiela Gail Satura-Quingco and Ms. Hyacinth Aubrey G. Ramirez of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
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.