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PNVSCA awards 2015’s Outstanding Volunteers

The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency will once again recognize the country’s modern-day heroes in the 2015 Search for Outstanding Volunteers Awarding Ceremony on 10 December 2015 at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Ortigas Center, Quezon City.

PNVSCA will confer the awards to ten outstanding volunteers service organizations rigorously selected out of the 78 nominations received nationwide. Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning Arsenio Balisacan, National Economic and Development Authority Deputy-Director General Margarita R. Songco, National Volunteer Month Honorary Chair Sr. Eva Fidela Maamo, and PNVSCA Executive Director Joselito C. De Vera will lead the conferment of awards to the outstanding volunteers.

Mr. John Oliver Tablazon, a registered nurse and a member of the Hearts and Brains Youth Volunteers (HABI), is the sole awardee in the Individual-Youth Category. Mr. Tablazon extended assistance on healthcare, education, and social services to B’laan families in the Saranggani Province. Through his leadership in HABI and in collaboration with the parents from the B’laan families, he facilitated the establishment of make-shift dormitories for the B’laan kids who used to walk long distances and cross rivers for several hours just to attend their classes.

Mr. Virgilio Bautista and Mr. Benfred Tacuyan, from Baguio City and Iloilo City, respectively, are the awardees for the Individual-Adult category.

An accomplished leader in several academic and socio-civic organizations, Mr. Virgilio Bautista has consistently led the mobilization of volunteers during relief and rehabilitation operations for victims of calamities in Beguet. He also initiated the Concentrated Learning English Program (CLEP), a capacity-building program where volunteer educators train their colleagues in English Language teaching.

An actual victim of ejectment, Mr. Benfred Tacuyan fully understands the plight on an urban poor informal settler. His experience motivated him to facilitate and sustain social preparation activities for informal dwellers in Iloilo CIty. His volunteer work in the community has been instrumental in maintaining a peaceful transfer of illegal dwellers to their designated relocation sites. Benfred’s effort were also significant in the transformation of the 16.2 hectares USWAG village in Iloilo City into a sustainable community.

Three (3) not-for-profit organizations were hailed as awardees in this year’s Search.

Working to address the problems experienced by the Indigenous Peoples, Pampamayanang Mangyan Ugnayan, Inc. empowered Mangyan volunteers through capacity building activities which enabled them to drive their own change process and serve as intermediaries between Indigenous cultutal communities and government agencies. The organization also implements projects on education, livelihood, health, and disaster risk reduction and management for the IPs in Oriental and Occidental Mindoro.

The second not-for profit organization awardee is the first and one and only professionalized and systematized Muslim volunteer-sending organization in the Philippines. Kapamagogopa Inc. deploys Muslim youth to provide technical assistance in the conduct of capacity-building activities, development programs, and dialogues on the peace process in conflict-stricken and undeserved communities in the country.

Cancer Warriors Foundation Inc. is the third recipient of the Organization, Not-for Profit award this year. True to its advocacy in battling cancer, CWFI has mobilized volunteers to support children with cancer and their families through the provision of medical services, psychosocial support, and education. It also campaigned for cancer education, sustainable access to cancer treatment, and free medications in hospitals across the country.

In the Organization, Corporate category, Telus International Philippines was selected as this year’s awardee. Telus implements an employee volunteering program as part of its corporate social responsibility through the conduct of development projects on health, education, and arts and culture. Through its initiative, community work and volunteerism have become an important part of the company’s culture.

Rev. Fr. Florentino S. Concepcion and BPI Foundation will receive the Special Citation in Volunteerism.

Focusing in the marginalized sector, Father Concepcion established institutions to provide homes for abandoned elderly and disadvantaged children and youth, he also collaborated with local and foreign organizations to implement social services programs for the poor.

Through its systematic volunteer management system, BPI Foundation successfully transformed its volunteer program from being company-driven to employee-driven which is now called “BPI Bayanihan Para sa Inang Bayan.” It has mobilized BPI bank employees to implement development programs in education, entrepreneurship, arts and culture, and environment in different communities nationwide.

The life-long commitment and impact of the volunteerism initiatives of Mr. Richard J. Gordon as the Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Awardee (VLAA) will be one of the hightlights of the ceremony. Mr. Gordon learned the values of volunteering from his family of public servants and civic leaders. His mother, the late Amelia Juico-Gordon, was an SOV VLAA in 2005. She is remembered both for her service as mayor of Olongapo City and for her programs for children, most notable are the Boys Town and the Girls Home for abandoned children.

Mr. Gordon made volunteerism a platform in his various development efforts and engagements whether as a legislator, a local government executive, a national government official or as a private citizen. He conceptualized and continously implements innovative programs that provide opportunities for volunteering, the most notable among these are the Olongapo City Volunteers, the Department of Tourism Volunteer 12, and the Red Cross 143. He also a prime mover of legislations and policies on volunteerism, including the landmark National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act.

Popularly known as “Mr. Volunteer”, Mr. Gordon is a familiar figure not only because he has been a public official, but because people see him join ranks with other volunteers, as they launch efforts to save lives and properties and help communities build their lives anew.

The Search for Outstanding Volunteers is an annual activity that aims to recognize the exemplary performance and dedication to services of Filipino volunteers across the nation in building strong communities and empowering lives. It also serves as a platform for promoting and nurturing volunteerism as a time-enduring tradition and a significant component of the Filipino way of life.

The SOV is conducted by the PNVSCA and the National Volunteer Month-Steering Committee, in cooperation with the SOV National Selection Committee and the Regional Search Committees chaired by the NEDA Regional Offices, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the NCR and the Regional Planning and Development Office (RPDO) for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Mabuhay ang ating 2015 SOV awardees!