In its resolve to accelerate the mainstreaming of volunteerism as a development strategy initiative, officials and staff of the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) conducted consultations, an internal planning workshop, and team building, at the Laguna State Polytechnic University (LSPU) – Siniloan Campus on January 18-19, 2024.

Before and after the internal planning workshop, the officials and staff of PNVSCA engaged in consultation meetings with various stakeholders in different areas of Laguna and Rizal. The planning and coordination process involved dividing the group into two teams, each assigned a specific set of activities and locations (please see Itinerary of PNVSCA Teams).  This strategic approach allowed for comprehensive coverage and interaction with key stakeholders, ensuring a well-rounded perspective in the finalization of the Agency’s  Work Program for FY 2024.

Route of Teams 1 and 2 during the consultation meetings in Laguna and Rizal on January 18-19, 2024

Below is a summary of the activities conducted by the two PNVSCA teams: 

Team 1

1. Visit to Bahay ni Rizal in Calamba, Laguna

The visit to the museum was an opportunity to identify volunteering opportunities in the culture and tourism industry.

Mr. Teodoro Derick Villa, curator of the Rizal Shrine, enlightens PNVSCA staff about the rich
history of Laguna province inside Bahay ni Rizal in Calamba, Laguna, on January 18, 2024.

2. Courtesy Call to NEDA IV-A Regional Office

To be able to interact with all the identified stakeholder groups, Team 1 was divided into 2 groups–Team 1A and Team 1B. Team 1A conducted a courtesy visit to the NEDA Regional Office IV-A and had a brief meeting with Regional Director Agnes Tolentino, together with Research and Development Division officers Chief Economic Development Specialist (EDS) Ms. Lovely S. Mores and Senior EDS Ms. Luningning Llames.

As the lead in implementing the Search for Outstanding Volunteers at the regional level, RD Tolentino raised the difficulty of identifying volunteers to be nominated.  As to the international volunteer (IV) service, she mentioned that the IVs deployed in CALABARZON have already paid courtesy visits to NRO IV-A. As the conversation flowed, PNVSCA officials assured RD Tolentino that prior to deployment to their respective Local Partner Institutions (LPIs), PNVSCA performs a security background check on IVs to ensure that they do not pose a risk to national security.

NEDA IV-A Regional Director Ms. Agnes M. Espinas-Tolentino (3rd from right) together with Chief Economic Development Specialist of Research and Development Division Ms. Lovely S. Mores (far left) and other NEDA staff warmly welcomed the PNVSCA Team (Volunteer Service Officers Fely M. Baday, Raymart V. Maruquez and Anthony K. Bagano, Jr.; and administrative staff Diosita P. Mendoza and Trexie T. Bautista) during the courtesy visit on 28 January 2024.

3. Consultation Meeting with City of Calamba Officials

PNVSCA Team 1B was met by the city government of Calamba Administrator Mr. Johnny R. Pamuspusan, City Planning and Development Coordinator Mr. Dennis R. Lanzanas, Tourism Department Head Ms. Maolen Karla S. Boholano, and Youth Development Officer III Ms. Ma. Kristina Guerrero-Liangco at the City Hall.

In the meeting, ED Donald Gawe highlighted the importance of mainstreaming volunteerism as a strategy for local development. He is glad that the team is composed of representatives from different departments as volunteerism is cross-cutting and can be integrated into culture, youth development, and sports among others, instead of the misconception that volunteerism is only for DRRM. Mr. Pamuspusan mentioned that volunteerism is rich in Calamba City and is very evident in sports, youth development, and culture. Director Gawe also suggested giving recognition to volunteers during the Founding Anniversary of the LGU, and for the city to have a database/registry of their volunteers. Calamba City LGU pledged to designate a Volunteerism Focal Person and Office from the Tourism Office.

From left to right: PNVSCA Senior Volunteer Service Officer Ms. Maribel F. Larracochea, PNVSCA Executive Director Donald James D. Gawe, Calamba City Tourism Department Head Ms. Maolen Karla S. Boholano, Calamba City Administrator Mr. Johnny R. Pamuspusan, Planning Development Office Head Mr. Dennis R. Lanzanas, PNVSCA Senior Volunteer Service Officer Ms. Claire S. Pantoja, PNVSCA Administrative Officer I Ms. Ma. Sophia B. Navarro, and Calamba City Youth Development Officer III Ms. Ma. Kristina Guerrero-Liangco

4. Monitoring of USPC Volunteer and Consultation with LPI

After the visit to NRO IV-A, Team 1A conducted a site monitoring visit of a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer-assisted project – the Gov. Felicisimo T. San Luis Integrated Senior High School. PNVSCA officers conducted a face-to-face interview with the Local Partner Institution (LPI) Head and Principal Dr. Roderick Tobias, and Volunteer Counterpart Mr. John Louie Talabis along with teachers Ms. Perla Laquindam and Ms. Marides Gaelou. The LPI talked about the volunteer’s project Improving English Language Proficiency and Literacy Project – Project Gabay, where the international volunteer does tutorial sessions and extracurricular activities to improve English language proficiency of the students. To also increase the access of students and teachers to teaching and learning resources, enhancement of the school library was also programmed under the said project.

From left to right: PNVSCA Administrative Aide VI Marites S. Dela Fuente, US Peace Corps Volunteer, PNVSCA Volunteer Service Officer II Anthony K. Bagano, Jr., and PNVSCA Administrative Assistant III Diosita P. Mendoza
From left to right: PNVSCA Senior Volunteer Service Officer Mr. Raymart V. Maruquez, PNVSCA Admin Officer I Ms. Trexie T. Bautista, Gov. FT San Luis Integrated Senior High School Counterpart Mr. John Louise Talabis, Master Teacher Ms. Marides P. Gaelon, and Principal Dr. Roderick C. Tobias.

5. Consultation with LGU Santa Cruz, Laguna

Team 1B proceeded to Santa Cruz Municipal Hall and had the privilege to meet Mayor Edgard “Kuya Egay” S. San Luis, Municipal Legal Officer Atty. Ronald Mariano and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer EnP. Joshua Frederick J. Vitaliz. Mayor San Luis shared that he wants to push for volunteerism and inspire his citizens to have a mindset to volunteer. Mr. Vitaliz delightedly talked about the local volunteer groups that respond to the calls of Sta. Cruz, Laguna’s DRRMO for clean-up drive activities, while the PNVSCA Executive Director encouraged the officers to produce a policy on volunteerism to garner more support from people.

After the consultation meeting between PNVSCA and LGU Sta. Cruz (Laguna), Municipal Mayor Edgar “Kuya Egay” (3rd from right) and DRRMO Joshua Frederick J. Vitaliz (3rd from left) pose for a souvenir photo with PNVSCA Executive Director Donald James D. Gawe (2nd from right) and Volunteer Service Officers Sheena C. Alcala (far left), Maribel F. Larracochea (2nd from left), and Claire S. Pantoja (far right)

6. Courtesy Call at PLGU Laguna

In the consultation meeting with the Provincial Government of Laguna, Volunteer Service Officer Ms. Fely Baday gave a brief background of PNVSCA and its current thrusts which include the advocacy for volunteering for development and the provision of technical assistance in mainstreaming volunteerism in NGAs, LGUs and HEIs.  To emphasize its urgency, Ms Baday shared some examples of LGUs that are already in the process of strengthening their volunteering infrastructure.  In response, Provincial Government Assistant Department Head Ms. Carina F. Macalos said that the Provincial Government employees of Laguna, through the cooperative, conduct volunteer work or outreach programs annually to help learners in the remote areas of the province. Towards the end of the conversation, Ms. Macalos suggested that a provincial orientation may be an appropriate venue for PNVSCA to discuss volunteerism with Laguna’s provincial offices, department heads, and staff.

PNVSCA Executive Director Gawe (3rd from left) and Laguna Provincial Government Assistant Department Head Ms. Carina F. Macalos (3rd from right) together with PNVSCA staff after the consultation meeting at the Provincial Capitol on January 18, 2024

7. Consultation Meeting with MLGU Pililla, Rizal

Team 2 on the other hand, visited the Local Government Units of Pililla, Rizal, and Paete, Laguna to explore opportunities for possible synergy in embedding volunteerism in local governance. In the Municipal Government of Pililla, Rizal the team met with Municipal Administrator Mr. John Masinsin, Hon. Councilor Dindo Abueg, LDRRM Assistant Mr. Byron F. Materiano, and other staff from the LDRRM office.

Photo taken during the courtesy visit/exploratory meeting with LGU Pilillia, Rizal.

Ms. Ela Sarmago, Chief of the Program Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PCMED) provided a brief overview of PNVSCA, emphasizing the Agency’s mandates and key activities. As one of the implementers of the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) that included volunteering questions, Ms. Sarmago shared that responses to said questions can serve as indicators of citizen’s participation and people’s trust in the local government. She looks forward to having access to the processed volunteering data gathered from the 2022 CBMS which LGU promised to share with PNVSCA.

Administrator Masinsin mentioned that the LGU practices a culture of active citizenship and volunteering. LGU Pilillla closely collaborates with different local volunteer organizations and regional line agencies (RLAs) in engaging volunteers for the municipality. Councilor Abueg also shared the willingness of the people of Pilillla to help as indicated by the success of all the municipality’s volunteering initiatives. LGU  Pilillia honored their volunteers and volunteer organizations as part of their “Araw ng Pilillla” celebration in May 2023.

8. Project Monitoring and Consultations in Paete, Laguna

The team also paid a courtesy visit to LGU Paete, Laguna, and met with Mayor Ronald B. Cosico. Ms. Sarmago explained that the Agency is initiating consultation meetings with different local government units to advocate the mainstreaming of volunteerism in local governance. She emphasized the importance of embedding volunteerism in the Local Development Plans (LDPs) and the passage of an ordinance adopting and implementing Republic Act 9418 or the Volunteer Act of 2007.

Photo taken during the courtesy visit/exploratory meeting with LGU Paete, Laguna and visit to the NZC Tree-Planting Site.

Mayor Cosico mentioned that the LGU has been mobilizing volunteers in different offices. He also highlighted the vital role the youth played in volunteering. In line with this, Ms. Sarmago reiterated PNVSCA’s call for the designation of a Volunteerism Focal Person (VFP) in Paete that will help strengthen and enhance the volunteering infrastructure in the municipality.

Apart from this, the Local Government of Paete is a partner of the Climate Change Commission in the implementation of their Net Zero Challenge Roll-out, a tree planting activity at the Caliraya-Lumot Watershed last August 24, 2023. As participant in the said activity, PNVSCA staff took the opportunity to re-visit the site to monitor the survival of the trees planted as well as to assess possible volunteering opportunities in tree planting initiatives. The staff noted a 100% survival rate of the trees planted by the PNVSCA team that participated in the event.

Paete is also the hometown of Katoto Project Youth Organization Inc. (KPYOI) – 2023 Search for Outstanding Volunteers National Awardee for Not-for-Profit Organization Category. In the meeting, the President, Mr. Rowell Ybanez, together with his team, shared their action plans to sustain and scale-up their activities. Mr. Ybanez noted that the recognition from PNVSCA has opened new project opportunities for them.

Photo taken during the visit/interview with Katoto Project Youth Organization Inc.

The strategic initiatives outlined by the KPYOI underscore their commitment to fostering community development through collaborative efforts and partnerships. This includes partnership with the local government of Paete especially on the passage of a volunteerism ordinance as proposed by PNVSCA.

9. Consultation with the Laguna State Polytechnic University (LSPU)

The two PNVSCA Teams converged at LSPU-Siniloan Campus for their last consultation. Vice President for Administration and Finance, Engineer Beltran Pedrigal, together with the faculty and staff of LSPU Siniloan Campus warmly welcomed the PNVSCA Team. LSPU’s Vice President for Research and Development Dr. Robert C. Agatep, praised LSPU’s continuing partnership with PNVSCA. In response, PNVSCA’s Exec. Dir. Gawe emphasized that “Volunteerism is innate within us” and encouraged all the university’s departments to advocate for volunteerism and encouraged the university to go beyond NSTP and inculcate volunteerism in academics, research, and volunteerism outside extension work.

LSPU-Siniloan Campus Vice President for Administration and Finance Engr. Beltran Pedrigal welcoming the PNVSCA officers and staff at the University Function Hall on January 18, 2024

10.  Team Building Activity

After dinner, the PNVSCA Employees Association (PEA) Officers facilitated the Team Building activities to kick-off the planning session.  The first activity was Relay, which aimed to develop effective working relationships and involved strengthening communication among PNVSCA staff.

During the relay game, a representative from each of the three teams needed to build
a tower at the fastest rate using paper cups while team members cheer from behind

The second activity was Building a Tower, Building a Team. The game focused on enhancing personal connection and strategic thinking by encouraging the staff to discuss their shared experiences, and common language, and identifying and addressing the challenges in determining the right prototype in building the tower using the given materials. The staff celebrated the results of the team-building activity and acknowledged each other’s working behaviors that would further strengthen the PNVSCA team.

Team 2 strategized the foundation of their tower.

11. Internal Planning

Day 2 started with the discussion of the mechanics of the presentation of the Division Work Programs by PNVSCA Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Rudy Carlos. He mentioned that the inputs gathered during the consultations should be incorporated into the Updated Work Programs of the Divisions.

Thereafter, the Division Chiefs presented their comprehensive Work and Financial Plans for the fiscal year 2024 which were then consolidated into an Office Performance and Commitment Report (OPCR). Participants engaged in lively discussions, sharing insights and best practices to enhance the efficiency and impact of the agency’s endeavors. The camaraderie fostered during the event set the tone for a year of collective dedication to the national cause.

Mr. Rudy Carlos, Chief Administrative Officer, presenting the AFMD Work and Financial Plan for FY 2024
PNVSCA officers and staff after the internal planning workshop cum presentation
at LSPU Siniloan Campus, Laguna on January 19, 2024

12. Consultations to Validate the Work Program

The two teams continued a series of consultations after the workshop on January 19. Team 1 headed to the University of Rizal System (URS)-Morong campus and met with the University President and Volunteerism Focal Person, Dr. Nancy Talavera-Pascual, where the university president made a presentation about the progress in the university’s efforts to mainstream volunteerism since the signing of the MOU with PNVSCA in December 2022. The activities included in the presentation are URS-initiated Lecture-forum on Volunteerism for a More Gender-responsive Committed URS Services, meetings and creation of committees to strengthen the culture of volunteerism within URS through various projects, programs, and activities, 1st Annual general membership assembly cum lecture forum on leadership, university-wide volunteering for social diversity and inclusion, and attendance of URS president to PNVSCA’s Search for Outstanding Volunteers (SOV) and Bayanihan Media Awards (BMA) awarding ceremonies.  Also present in the meeting were Vice President for Administration and Finance Dr. Marvin Amoin, Director of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Ms. Rennie Mae De Lemon, Executive Assistant of the President Ms. Day Cabungawan, GAD Center Director Dr. Wilhelmina P. Masinsin, and Mr. Kevin Aquino from the Office of Public Affairs.

Photo Opportunity with University of Rizal System (URS) President Dr. Nancy Talavera-Pascual (5th from left) and URS Morong officials Vice President for Administration and Finance Dr. Marvin Amoin, Director of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Ms. Rennie Mae De Lemon

13. Visit to Bukal ng Tipan Maryhill Retreat Center in Taytay, Rizal

To identify potential venues for activities being organized and/or coordinated by PNVSCA and its partners, Team 1 visited Bukal ng Tipan Maryhill Retreat House in Taytay, Rizal. The Retreat House offers a range of services and activities that cater to the diverse needs and interests of its visitors which may include guided retreats, workshops, meditation sessions, counseling, or various holistic practices such as yoga or mindfulness exercises. The Team was assured by Ms. Jelanie L.Bohol, the staff-in-charge, that the center provides a flexible and accommodating environment to ensure that everyone can find solace, inspiration, and growth according to their own preferences.

PNVSCA Team 2, on the other hand, visited the Life Project 4 Youth Foundation Inc. (LP4Y) Green Village to monitor their Professional Life Skills Program assisted by international volunteers from France Volontaires (FV). LP4Y operates in five sites in the Philippines assisting in the social and professional reintegration of excluded and vulnerable young people to being effective movers of the society through entrepreneurship skills training.

Photo taken during the monitoring visit with LP4Y – Green Village,
Calauan, Laguna on January 19, 2024.

In LP4Y Calauan, the idea of the Green Village (GV) was conceptualized in 2012 due to the damage brought by typhoons and the relocation of Metro Manila informal settlers to the area. It was not until December 2015 that the whole plan materialized when a lot was donated for the project. The three main objectives of the project are: (a) an ecological place built mainly with eco-friendly materials like bamboo and nipa; (b) a place for seminars and trainings; and (c) a training center to integrate more youth in the future.  

For their last stop, Team 2 met with Learning Community Organizations of PEACE (LCOoP)  to discuss the Organization’s action plan. The team was welcomed by Dr. Cielito Habito, Chairman, Ms. Pilar Habito, Prime Mover and Life Coach, and volunteers/ members.

Photo taken during the action planning with Learning Community Organizations of PEACE (LCOoP) on January 19, 2024.

Mr. Bert Tagalog, LCOoP member and business mentor, hoped that their community could develop different learning areas and engage different organizations. He also shared that LCOoP conducts a community forum every first Saturday of the month that engages women volunteers for their community feeding program.

Ms. Pilar Habito described LCOoP as citizenship and stewardship. She identified that gender, the need for capital, and system management are some areas that need improvement.

While Dr. Cielito Habito, former NEDA Director General, shared how volunteerism in their neighborhood was able to transform a practical junkyard into a cozy community center with a library, snack bar, and meeting venue.  Labor and materials including the beautiful plants were all from volunteers.

The two-day workshop ended with the PNVSCA employees having a renewed sense of purpose and a clear roadmap for FY 2024. The Year-End Performance Review and FY 2024 Internal Planning Workshop not only served as a platform for reflection but also as a catalyst for the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency to propel itself into a year of meaningful contributions towards the government’s vision and the broader global agenda of sustainable development.


The authors are composed of different staff from the Policy, Advocacy, and Technical Services Division (PATSD) and Program Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PCMED), Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency.

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