Written by: Jeffrey N. Almazan
In a simple ceremony held last September 16 in the AVR room of the University of Mindanao-Bolton Campus, PNVSCA Executive Director Donald James D. Gawe signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with UM Chief Academic Officer Dr. Eugenio S. Guhao Jr. and Assistant Vice President for Community Extension. NSTP Head and Assistant Vice President Ms. Sitti Rogaiya L. Apadan and Ms. Ela Victoria S. Sarmago (represented by Mr. Jeffrey N. Almazan) stood as witnesses for UM and PNVSCA, respectively.
PNVSCA and UM agreed to share their respective expertise and resources for the success of the partnership. Among the stipulations of the MOU is for PNVSCA to provide capacity building in the form of training and seminars and share materials to enable the University to mainstream volunteerism in its three-fold functions – instruction, research and extension. It is hoped that with the partnership, the UM will actively engage academic and non-academic personnel, students, and alumni in volunteerism towards nation building.
Both parties expressed their enthusiasm and dedication to the cause of volunteerism and community engagement. AVP Apadan in her welcoming remarks noted that partnering with PNVSCA is truly and honor and privilege. “We find it very fitting that PNVSCA is our partner so we can align volunteering activities [ such NSTP ], to the development plans and national volunteer program of the government. CAO Guhao, Jr. for his part remarked that the collaboration is not just a document but a testament of shared commitment.
ED Gawe expressed his gratitude to the UM for initiating the partnership and for its various efforts to instill volunteerism among its students, faculty and staff.
To jumpstart the implementation of the MOU, a forum entitled “Promoting Patriotism through Volunteerism” was conducted in a bid to ignite the spirit of patriotism and volunteerism among the students. Organized by the UM NSTP office, the event drew an enthusiastic crowd of community members, educators, and volunteers eager to learn more about the transformative power of volunteering.
Over 300 students and National Service Training Program (NSTP) facilitators of the University attended the forum with ED Donald Gawe (AM Session) and Mr. Jeffrey Almazan (PM Session) serving as resource persons. Some of the concerns and observations by the students and NSTP coordinators raised were:
- If the activities of the BSP considered volunteering
- Most students are pre-occupied with their studies and may not be enthusiastic to do volunteering work
- Sustaining the interest of volunteers
- How can the youth create innovative ways of volunteering
Two sessions with the same theme were held on September 9, 2023 with Mr. Kenneth C. Siruelo, MNSA, of PNVSCA as resource person (via online). A total of 674 students and NSTP facilitators attended the sessions
The author is currently the Volunteer Service Officer II, 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.