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PNVSCA convenes first batch of LGU volunteerism focal persons’ coordination meeting

pnvsca volunteerism meeting

Press Release
September 16, 2020

QUEZON CITY – Aimed at increasing the awareness and appreciation on the importance of volunteerism as a cross-cutting strategy and as a tool to achieve local and national development goals, the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) convened more than 110 Volunteerism Focal Persons (VFPs) and technical staff from 76 LGUs across the country in a virtual meeting on 28 August 2020.

In his welcome statement, PNVSCA Executive Director Donald James D. Gawe expressed gratitude to the participants and emphasized the importance of the gathering specifically at this time of the COVID 19 pandemic which needs the cooperation and participation of everyone to address the various problems brought about by the pandemic. ED Gawe also mentioned the common observation that in the Philippines, volunteerism is seen more as a crisis management and not as a development strategy. Thus, he hopes that all agencies and institutions will realize the need to harness the potential role of volunteerism as an alternative approach to achieve local and national development goals and include it in their development plans.

To increase the appreciation of the participants’ appreciation on volunteerism as a strategy in local development, the following topics were presented and discussed by PNVSCA volunteer service officers: (1) Volunteerism 101 which provided basic volunteerism concepts, and the related legislations and policy framework by Mr. Kenneth Siruelo; (2) the role of PNVSCA in the voluntary sector and its thrusts and priorities including the current initiatives in response to the COVID 19 pandemic by Ms. Ela Sarmago; and (3) PNVSCA’s initial efforts on strengthening sub-national mechanism to mainstream volunteerism as a development strategy by Ms. Fely Baday.

Professors Alfred Sureta and Eric de Torres of DILG also discussed IATF’S Recovery Task Force efforts to engage volunteers in its strategies and priority activities. DILG also highlighted the significant role of the LGUs in taking the lead in addressing the pandemic in their respective localities, and the importance of a coordinated and collaborative effort between the LGU, CSOs and the public in general to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A number of questions and concerns were raised during the open forum which were responded to by the PNVSCA and DILG resource speakers; these include the following: (1) how to establish a volunteer program, (2) what are the necessary steps and policies that will sustain the implementation of their existing volunteer programs including the provision of incentive for the volunteers; (3) what to do when youth are actively involved as volunteers but their age bracket is not allowed to go out under the IATF guidelines; among others. As rejoinder, several LGUs shared their best practices and experiences on how they institutionalized volunteerism in their regular programs.

For the participants’ added information and opportunity for learning and networking, they were invited to attend PNVSCA’s webinar on 3 September 2020 on Engaging Volunteers during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Some Good Practices of Local Government Units (LGUs).

ED Gawe ended the meeting by expressing his appreciation to all the participants and requested the Volunteerism Focal Persons to suggest agenda items/topics for the subsequent meetings.

Also present during the meeting were the Regional Volunteerism Focal Points from 11 NEDA Regional Offices and BPDA-BARMM.