Written by: Anthony Bagano Jr. and Alyssa Marie Villa

In a move towards fostering community engagement and social responsibility, the province of Pampanga has enacted a comprehensive Volunteerism Ordinance. Ordinance No. 853, entitled “ AN ORDINANCE ENACTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PAMPANGA VOLUNTEER PROGRAM FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE PROVINCE OF PAMPANGA; PROVIDING FOR THE INCENTIVES PROGRAM FOR VOLUNTEERS; PRESCRIBING THE GUIDELINES AND THE INSTITUTIONAL MECHANISMS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION THEREOF, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES” was approved and signed last 20 November 2023.

With this significant development, Pampanga became the second province to champion the spirit of volunteerism as a catalyst for positive change and sustainable development. The ordinance also represents a milestone in the province’s commitment to harnessing the collective power of volunteers to address pressing societal challenges and promote inclusive growth. It reflects a shared vision among local leaders, community stakeholders, and civil society organizations to cultivate a culture of volunteerism and active citizenship across the province.

In a dialogue between the representatives of the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) and the provincial government, PNVSCA was handed a copy of the Ordinance. The PNVSCA representatives congratulated the province for the milestone accomplishment and informed them that on record, they are the second PLGU to enact a comprehensive ordinance.

Members of the Pampanga Provincial Committee on Volunteerism meet with PNVSCA Team

The PNVSCA held a series of meetings with potential partners and monitoring visits of existing collaborative efforts in Pampanga and Bulacan from 30 January 30 to 1 February 2024.  The meetings were aimed at promoting a systematic integration of volunteerism to Local Government Units (LGUs), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) through policy-making, improvement of programs and activities, organized data collection, research, and creating a space for recognition highlighting the efforts and accomplishments of volunteers. The monitoring visits, on the other hand, included interviews with international volunteers, and Bayanihan Media Awards (BMA) awardees.

Mr. Kenneth C. Siruelo, MNSA, Officer-in-Charge of Policy, Advocacy and Technical Services Division (PATSD) spearheaded the discussions with key representatives from the LGUs, SUCs, HEIs, including the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Office III. This initiative opened an avenue for the various sectors to be informed about “Republic Act 9418 or the Volunteer Act of 2007” along with the mandates of PNVSCA in advocating and promoting volunteerism as a strategic tool for development.

Along with Mr. Siruelo were Mr. Rudy Carlos, Chief Administrative Officer of the Administrative, Financial and Management Division (AFMD), Mr. Anthony K. Bagano Jr. Volunteer Service Officer (VSO) II of PATSD, and Ms. Alyssa Marie Villa, VSO II of Program Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PCMED) who also represented PNVSCA during the courtesy visits and exploratory meetings with different partners.

The PNVSCA team emphasized how organizations can develop a well-structured system where volunteers can search and register for volunteerism opportunities encompassing other disciplines outside disaster risk-reduction management (DRRM) such as health, education, the marginalized sector, human rights, gender and development, environment, peace and security, and tourism.

Moreover, best volunteerism practices implemented by other LGUs were also shared. This provided LGUs with valuable insights into effective strategies for engaging volunteers, mobilizing resources, and maximizing impact.

Through the course of discussions, the City Governments of Mabalacat, Angeles, San Fernando, and Malolos City imparted some of their present programs mostly through their Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and People’s Participation. In the case of San Fernando City, Mr. Reymundo H. Hipolto Jr., Chief of Staff, said that their city has various volunteers in social work, DRRM, architecture services, health, and education.

Likewise, Dr. Dennis Booth, San Jose del Monte City Administrator, highlighted that volunteerism is embedded in their programs and activities. He noted that having a binding resolution can easily consolidate current and future volunteering initiatives in their city which they will be working out with the city officials in the coming weeks.

In another meeting, Engr. Edgar Luna, Head of the Baliwag City Environment and Natural Resources Office, agreed on the importance of a legal basis on the city level through an ordinance, city resolution, or an executive order on volunteerism. He added that the City Climate Change Center can serve as a venue for training and gatherings that will bolster the inculcation of volunteerism as a way of life for their constituents. Additionally, he assured the support of Mayor Freddie Estella in this advocacy.

Courtesy visit and exploratory meeting with Mabalacat City Planning and Development Office.
Courtesy Visit and Exploratory meeting at the Local Government of Angeles City together with Secretary to the Mayor Mr. Rafael Lazatin Angeles and OIC-ACDRRMO Mr. Rodolfo Simeon.
Courtesy Visit and Exploratory meeting with Local Government of San Fernando Chief of Staff, Mr. Reymundo M. Hipolito Jr..
Courtesy visit and meeting with Local Government of New Malolos together with Engr. Eugene N. Cruz, EN.P , City Planning and Development Coordinator.
Courtesy Visit and Exploratory Meeting with San Jose del Monte City Local Government Unit Represented by City Administrator Dr. Dennis Booth and City College of SJDM President Dr. Roger Ambida.

A follow-up meeting with the Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) of Bulacan was also conducted. PLGU Bulacan representatives reported that there is an organized collection of volunteerism data on their barangay health workers and social workers managed by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), the province’s volunteer focal office. The collaborative efforts of PSWDO and the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) will set the provincial ordinance creation in motion in coordination with Governor Daniel Fernando and the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

Courtesy visit and Follow-up meeting with the Provincial Government of Bulacan represented by PSWDO Asst. Head Jaymark Chico, PSWDO staff, and PPDO personnel.

For the SUCs and HEIs, elevating volunteerism in the academe beyond the National Service Training Program (NSTP) and extension services was emphasized during the exploratory meetings. The following were suggested by PNVSCA:

  1. Providing volunteerism opportunities for faculty, non-teaching staff, students, National Service Reserve Corps (NSRC) reservists, alumni, private and public institutions, and external groups.
  2. Designate a volunteerism focal person to handle and manage all volunteerism-related activities.
  3. Recognition of volunteer individuals and organizations in the institution.
  4. Promoting and adding volunteerism as a research agenda for students and faculty.
  5. Integrating volunteerism in the curriculum.
  6. Creation of a volunteerism course.

Pampanga State Agricultural University (PSAU), Angeles University Foundation (AUF), Don Honorio Ventura State University (DHVSU), Bulacan State University (BulSU), and the City College of San Jose del Monte (CCSJDM) were the SUCs and HEIs visited.

Dr. Archimedes David, Director of the Center for Christian Formation and Praxis AUF, showed a positive outlook in the actualization of the Memorandum of Understanding between PNVSCA and AUF. Likewise, Dr. Roger Ambida, CCSDJM President, expressed optimism in establishing a partnership with PNVSCA together with the CLGU of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. In the same way, Dr. Reden Hernandez, OIC-Executive Vice President, and Dr. Ranie Canlas, Vice President for Research, Innovation, Training & Extension Services of DHVSU conveyed positive sentiments in partnering with PNVSCA to reinforce volunteerism in the university.

While for Pampanga State Agricultural University (PSAU), as a follow through with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on October 2023, the PNSVSCA team facilitated an action planning with Mr. John Paul S. Viray, Head of External Linkages & NSTP Administrator, Ms. Grace Viray, Public Information Officer III, and Dr. Rafael R. Rafael, Director for Planning. The action planning paved the way to map out upcoming activities both for the students and employees of the University to raise awareness and strengthen their core foundation and appreciation of volunteerism.

In pursuit of its mandate to coordinate, monitor, and evaluate the national volunteer service program, the PNVSCA diligently conducts site visits of programs, projects, and activities facilitated by international/foreign volunteers. These visits play a pivotal role in ensuring that volunteer assistance aligns effectively with the nation’s development goals. For this monitoring visit, particular attention was directed towards the Agroecotourism Project at PSAU , where an international volunteer from the United States Peace Corps Response Volunteer (USPC-RV) has been actively involved. This collaborative effort between PSAU and the USPC-RV exemplifies the spirit of partnership and cooperation in advancing sustainable development initiatives in the region.

The follow-up meeting with Bulacan State University (BulSU) through Dr. Gualberto A. Magdaraog Jr., Dean of the College of Business Administration, resulted in clarification of roles and responsibilities, potential collaborative projects and activities, and technical assistance that can be provided to the University.

Action Planning and Monitoring Visit with USPCRV at Pampanga State Agricultural University, Magalang, Pampanga.
Courtesy Visit and Exploratory Meeting with Director Dr. Archimedes David and Center for Christian Foundation and Praxis Team of Angeles University Foundation
Courtesy visit and exploratory meeting with Don Honorio Ventura State University Dr. Reden Hernandez, OIC-Executive Vice President and Dr. Ranie Canlas, Vice President for Research, Innovation, Training & Extension Services.
Courtesy Visit and Follow-Up meeting with Bulacan State University College of Business Administration Dean Gualberto Magdaraog Jr. and Assoc. Dean Jose Miguel Luis Reyes.

The PNVSCA team also paid a visit to the NEDA Regional Office (NRO) III to discuss strategies to institutionalize volunteerism as a core development strategy in the region. The adoption of volunteerism as a development strategy underscores a fundamental shift in mindset – from viewing volunteers as supplementary resources to recognizing them as catalysts for sustainable development. The visit with NRO III also facilitated the discussion on matters related to the 2023 Search for Outstanding Volunteers (SOV).

Courtesy visit and meeting with Ms. Ma. Theresa Viola, Senior Economic Development Specialist and Regional Volunteer Focal Person, and Ms. Ina De Jesus, Supervising Economic Development Specialist, of NEDA Regional Office Central Luzon.

As PNVSCA ramps up its efforts to bolster volunteerism in Central Luzon, it remains steadfast in its commitment to acknowledging and celebrating the remarkable contributions of volunteers and volunteer organizations. In line with this commitment, the PNVSCA team interviewed the BMA Awardee for Online News – Organization Category, Pampanga News Now (PNN) represented by Mr. Noel Tulabut, PNN Managing Editor.

Mr. Tulabut expressed his delight and appreciation for the existence of PNVSCA in recognizing volunteers. He pointed out that PNN saw the nobility in volunteerism and that the online media platform will give more space and accommodate more volunteerism content that exhibits a substantial impact on communities.

The award was given during the 2023 Search for Outstanding Volunteers and Bayanihan Media Awards held on December 12, 2023, at the Century Park Hotel, Manila.

Visit and interview with Bayanihan Media Awards (BMA) Awardee – Pampanga News Now together with its Managing Editor, Mr. Noel Tulabut.

To sum up, the coordinated visits and meetings portray the value of partnership and collaboration in achieving sustainable and holistic socio-economical outcomes through a multi-sectoral approach. These interactions and discussions culminate the initiative with a collaborative event that brings together representatives from all sectors to share insights, best practices, and commitments to ongoing volunteer efforts. Lastly, this inspires a broader organizational shift in adopting a systematic structure in integrating volunteerism in creating policies and conceptualizing programs towards a better and more inclusive society.

As PNVSCA continues to expand its reach and deepen its impact in Central Luzon, it remains guided by its core values of volunteerism, partnership, and empowerment. By harnessing the collective efforts and resources of various stakeholders, PNVSCA is paving the way for a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable future for the communities of Central Luzon.


The authors are currently the Volunteer Service Officer II of the Policy, Advocacy, and Technical Services Division (PATSD) and 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.