Written by: Sheena C. Alcala
The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA), in partnership with NEDA Regional Office VIII, conducted the Regional Development Forum (RDF): Volunteerism as a Development Strategy in Focus at NEDA Eastern Visayas Regional office in Palo, Leyte on 21 September 2023. Attended by 22 participants from a Local Government Unit (LGU), Private Sector, Regional Line Agencies (RLAs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), the forum paved the way for the different sectors to discuss the importance of volunteerism in the region, plan towards providing a conducive environment for volunteering, and garner commitments from the representatives to harness the potential of volunteerism to help achieve the regional priorities of Eastern Visayas. In her welcome remarks, NEDA Region VIII Assistant Regional Director (ARD) Atty. Jam M. Colas emphasized the importance of harnessing volunteerism in pursuit of the goal of the Eastern Visayas Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2023-2028 for improved quality life for all and a robust and sustained economic growth by 2028.
To set the context, NEDA VIII Development Research Division Supervising Economic Development Specialist Mr. Linnito M. Pascual presented the Development Issues and Priority Thrusts of the Region which is the comparison of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Targets versus Regional Development Plans strategies and showing SDG Indicators vs RDP Results Matrices (RM) Indicators.
This was followed by PNVSCA Exec. Dir Gawe’s presentation of the definition of volunteerism, understanding people’s motivation to volunteer, principles of volunteering, salient features of the Volunteer Act of 2007, institutionalizing volunteerism in local governance, and why and how to adopt volunteerism as a development strategy in the region.
The Eastern Visayas Regional Development Forum aims to promote volunteerism in the region and serve as an avenue for the participants to network and discuss volunteering initiatives and strategies that can contribute to the achievement of the development objectives of their respective organizations. The forum was attended by representatives from PGO Leyte, National Nutrition Council VIII, DSWD VIII, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), UP Tacloban College – Ugnayan ng Pahinungod, Eastern Visayas State University, Palompon Institute of Technology, Biliran Province State University, ACLC College, Southern Leyte State University, Saint Paul School of Professional Studies, Kabataan San Sidlangan, Inc., and Save the Children Ph., Firefly Brigade, Inc.
After the context provided by NEDA and PNVSCA, the participants crafted their action plan towards mainstreaming volunteerism which included among others the issuance of policy to recognize CSO best practices, fund sourcing for CSO engagements, integration of volunteerism as an SGLG criteria and coming-up with proposals to institutionalize community volunteerism.
The author is currently the VSO I of the Program Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PCMED), 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.