City of Koronadal, South Cotabato – Presidential Proclamation No. 55, Series of 1998 declares the month of December as the National Volunteer Month (NVM) in the Philippines.  This is to promote the culture of volunteerism as a proud legacy of the Filipinos as a people and as a nation, and to pay tribute to the tireless efforts and dedicated service of volunteers.

According to the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA), the celebration aims to build nationwide public awareness and appreciation of volunteerism and the role it plays in the social, economic and political development of the country; create the environment for bolstering voluntary action in development; and recognize the noble acts of volunteerism by individuals, families, institutions and communities as vital partners in economic and community development.

The NVM theme for 2017 “Boluntarismo: Daan Tungo sa Pagbabago” calls on every Filipino to become a change catalyst, even in their own simple ways, through organizing and participating in volunteering for development activities.

Everyone is encouraged to participate through support in advocacy, organize volunteering projects for vulnerable groups or conduct volunteering events like exhibit, conference, and others.

The recognition of outstanding volunteers highlights the celebration.  There were eight (8) national winners for 2017 Search for Outstanding Volunteers coming from Regions I, IV-A, IV-B, National Capital Region, and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.  Winners shall receive their awards at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Ortigas Avenue, Quezon City on December 15, 2017.

NEDA XII Regional Director Arturo G. Valero said during Regional Search Committee meeting in August 2017 that volunteers are another set of heroes. In Region XII, all the SOV 2017 nominees are winners and heroes in their own way. In relation to the attainment of the AmBisyon Natin 2040, wherein the government cannot provide solutions to all the problems in the country, the volunteers can help fill the insufficiency.  Hence, we need to work together in the spirit of discipline, generosity and bayanihan.

Volunteerism is a testament exhibited by any concerned Filipino to help the country in development and nation-building.  (Evie Arabis Cabulanan, NEDA XII-DRD)