Written by: Arianne Rose C. Maghanoy

The Provincial Development Forum (PDF) brought together participants from a range of sectors, including Local Government Units (LGUs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), to discuss and explore the possibility of embracing volunteerism as a development strategy in the province. The forum featured insightful presentations from resource speakers from the government sector, followed by interactive workshops aimed at assessing the status of volunteerism and creating a roadmap for its effective implementation which participants from sectoral representatives from the government, the private and civil society organizations had the opportunity to share their experiences and exchange ideas. The forum which was themed, “Provincial Development Forum (PDF): Volunteerism as a Development Strategy in Focus” wad conducted by PNVSCA on  13 June 2023 in collaboration with the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte.”

In his welcome message read by Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator (PPDC) Pedro S. Agcaoili, Jr.,  Governor Matthew J. Marcos Manotoc, expressed his unwavering support for volunteerism in the province and recognized the remarkable efforts of volunteers and their invaluable contributions to the communities. The Governor also emphasized that volunteerism serves as a beacon of hope and a catalyst for positive change. He highlighted the selflessness, compassion, and service embodied by volunteers, which are essential in forging strong and resilient communities in Ilocos Norte. Executive Director Donald James D. Gawe provided insightful information on using volunteerism as a development strategy at both fora. The talk concentrated on volunteerism paradigms and viewpoints in the Philippines and volunteerism governance. He also discussed successful organizational models and best practices, highlighting the importance of good stakeholder coordination and collaboration.

Participants and Resource Persons from the Provincial Development Forum (PDF):
Volunteerism as a Development Strategy in Focus in Ilocos Norte

Setting the stage for the workshop was the presentation of PPDC Agcaoili on the province’s development issues and top priorities. The province’s challenges and goals were explained in this session. It emphasized collaborative efforts and innovative approaches to tackle these issues effectively.  Mr. Richard Mel Caplis, OIC-Supervising Economic Development Specialist of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Region I provided an overview of the Regional Development Plan and how it adheres to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). His presentation highlighted the vision of the Region to be a REsilient, All-inclusive, Competitive, and Healthy Region I, or simply put, “REACH Region I.” In her closing remarks, Ms. Racquel T. Atawe, OIC-Assistant Regional Director of NEDA Region I, said that the event was timely given that NEDA had just unveiled its Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2023–2028.

Participants from the Provincial Development Forum (PDF): Volunteerism as a Development Strategy in Focus in Ilocos Sur

On the other hand, on 16th June 2023, PNVSCA conducted a similarly themed forum in Hotel Linda, Vigan, Ilocos Sur, in partnership with the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur. Governor Jeremiah “Jerry” Singson welcomed the participants through a message delivered by Board Member Christopher Baterina. In his welcome remarks, Hon. Baterina highlighted the province’s previous volunteer efforts during Typhoon Yolanda, which served as evidence of existing volunteering initiatives in the area. He also encouraged the participants to embrace and promote the spirit of volunteerism, emphasizing that it leads to personal and community growth.  Arch. EnP Estrelita I. Rugnao then shared Ilocos Sur’s Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plan (PDPFP) for the years 2021–2030. The PPDC emphasized that the PDPFP identifies the province’s physical resources, development constraints and opportunities, long-term vision and strategies, and corresponding policy and program recommendations. It also provides details on how land resources will be utilized to encourage the growth and development of the province and its people.

Ms. Vida Karna D. Bacani, OIC-Chief Economic Development Specialist of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Region I, emphasized that Ambisyon Natin 2040 must be translated into a plan. NEDA believes that a long-term vision must be a collective vision for it to be sustained for many years and for the country leaders to be given flexibility in crafting specific strategies and plans to realize the vision. In her message to conclude the session, NEDA OIC-Regional Director Ms. Irenea T. Ubungen expressed optimism that the forum which brought development actors from all fields together to strategize and utilize the power of volunteering will help advance local, regional, and national priorities, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She believes that the key to institutionalizing volunteerism as a development strategy in the province is strengthening partnerships and linkages and enhancing the camaraderie of the people of Ilocos Sur.

The PNVSCA met with its partners and stakeholders while in the Ilocos Region and held consultation meetings and site monitoring visits. Among those that were visited were LGU Paoay and LGU Batac. To monitor Local Partner Institutions (LPIs) and assess the placement of International Volunteers, other institutions including the University of Northern Philippines in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, and Paing Elementary School in San Esteban, Ilocos Sur, were visited.


The author is currently the Volunteer Service Officer I (VSO I) of the Policy, Advocacy and Technical Services Division (PATSD) of the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency.

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