Jose Miguel R. Dela Rosa

Undersecretary for Corporate Affairs



South Wing Lobby, House of Representatives

Batasan Pambansa, Quezon City

16 December 2019


It is a pleasure to be with volunteers who represent the heart and soul of our country. Today, we are one with the entire Filipino community in celebrating the National Volunteer Month. We take pride in knowing that there is a vibrant volunteering program in our country. This vibrancy is clearly shown today as we have gathered a representation of the different sectors – public servants, development workers from the non-government organizations, committed professionals from the business sector, academicians, partners from international development organizations, and many others who share with us the desire and passion to be of service to our fellowmen.

The designation of the month of December as National Volunteer Month or NVM is most appropriate, because December is the month of giving. Volunteers give the gift of time, talent, and treasure. NVM is the venue for the volunteer community to further promote volunteerism, encourage people participation in volunteer efforts and recognize the contributions of volunteers in development.

The Search for Outstanding Volunteers is a government program led by the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) to promote volunteerism in the country by honoring individuals and organizations that have demonstrated exemplary achievements in volunteering. This recognition aims to inspire and motivate others to emulate these models of modern-day heroism that brings positive change in people’s lives. Our awardees today have shown us how the country’s development challenges can be addressed through their respective fields of volunteer engagement.

Our youth awardee, Ms. Aliyah Adam, who hails from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, proves that young women can be a force to achieve equality and lasting peace.

We also have a high school teacher, Mr. Joel dela Costa, who went beyond the confines of a classroom and reached out to the communities in need of education, health, and other services.

Let me also commend our two female awardees, Dr. Zsa Zsa May Meneses and Engr. Cristeta Gallano, who are both experts in their fields of specialization but branched out to other areas in their volunteering engagement. A medical doctor innovating used compact discs as light reflector for a “kuliglig” transport, and an engineer training parish volunteers in values formation. Such perhaps is the beauty of volunteering, to get out of our comfort zones and find satisfaction and fulfilment in the process.

I am sure you will also agree that the volunteer work of our high school students from the University of La Salette High School is impressive and commendable. Young as they are, they are already committed to serve the community. We are happy that we have these young volunteers who will be our future workers in the government and private institutions ensuring that our next generation of leaders put value in servant-leadership.

We also have our Soroptimist Club of Mandaluyong with its successful program for teenage mothers that provide not only the opportunity for continuing education and secure livelihood, but also the renewed motivation to become better mothers, daughters, and citizens of the community.

This year, the NVM-SC has decided to give a special award to local government units, recognizing the LGUs’ role in mobilizing their constituents in programs and activities. We want to recognize not only citizens assisting the development efforts of the local government but also about citizens committing their collective responsibility to care for the community. This year, we are recognizing one city, one municipality, and one barangay – Mandaluyong City in the National Capital Region, Municipality of La Trinidad in Benguet, and Barangay Poblacion in Burgos, Ilocos Norte. We hope that we will have more LGU awardees in the succeeding years.

Last but certainly not the least is our Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Awardee, Dr. Romulo G. Davide. True to his words that “there is no barren land, only barren mind”, Dr. Davide has been volunteering throughout the years of his professional career and up until now in his semi-retirement. Through his Farmer Scientist Program, he has shown that the land will remain productive with appropriate farming practices fused with science and technology.

Volunteering has assumed new dimensions – that it can be channeled towards meeting the challenges laid down in the Philippine Development Plan. Volunteers play an important role not only in the delivery of social services and the battle against poverty, but also in addressing conflict, climate change, and good governance. Volunteerism encourages citizens to take active part in community affairs toward building the human and social capital anchored on the values of service and the Filipino bayanihan spirit.

Thus, volunteerism is a positive and workable framework for government and the private sector to pursue collaborative action. Moving forward, I call on our partners to take ownership of the government’s development programs and maximize the opportunities for volunteering to achieve our country’s vision of a “matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay para sa lahat.”

I would like to acknowledge the support of people and organizations that led us to this momentous event. The invaluable support of the National Volunteer Month Steering Committee and SOV National Selection Committee, Regional Search Committees, and all our partners in the volunteer program. You have done an excellent but certainly challenging job of choosing our awardees.

Let me also extend the NVM-Steering Committee’s gratitude to the House of Representatives, to Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, and Chairperson Florida Robes of the House Committee on People Participation for hosting the event. Your presence makes the occasion extraordinarily meaningful to our awardees.

My warmest congratulations to our awardees and to everyone here who are volunteers in their own way. I also extend my congratulations to all our regional nominees who are winners in their own right, because the work that you do as volunteers already make you heroes in the eyes and hearts of the people whose lives you have touched.

Thank you for joining us today and for your invaluable volunteering work that builds the foundation of a sustainable future for today and tomorrow’s generation of Filipinos.

Thank you and good morning.