MANILA— The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) is honoring outstanding Filipino volunteers in celebration of the 2013 National Volunteers Month this December. 

These volunteers, whose works demonstrate commitment and service to others especially in times of disaster and calamities, will be recognized in an Awarding Ceremony on Friday, December 13 at the Crowne Plaza Galleria, Ortigas Center, Quezon City. 

The Search for Outstanding Volunteers recognizes Filipinos who exhibited exemplary performance and dedication to service while building strong communities across the country through volunteerism. 

The search is open to all Filipinos — individuals or local or international volunteer organization — who currently provide volunteer assistance in the Philippines. 

This year’s SOV awardees are the following: 

1. Margarita H. Coscolluela 
2. Arvin O. Marabiles
3. Demetrio P. Anduyan, Jr.
4. Volunteer Service Provider (VSP)
5. Kabalikat Civicom – 475 Marinduque Chapter
6. PLDT Employee Volunteers
7. Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (DED) or the German Development Service 

Coscolluela, who formed the Sta. Maria Iloy Sang Dios Prison Ministry in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental in 1981, is this year’s recipient of the Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award (VLAA). She has been actively involved for 32 years in the prison ministry, which conducts regular visits, prayer meetings, Bible studies, and teachings to 19 jails all over the province. She also conducts a welfare program which provides prisoners with medical, livelihood, personal, and paralegal assistance. 

The national awardees for the Individual Category are Arvin O. Marabiles and Demetrio P. Anduyan, Jr. 

Marabiles hailed from Davao City and formed the Saint Francis Xavier Trabungco Mountaineering Club Search and Rescue Group (SFX TRABMOC). SFX TRABMOC is the only volunteer emergency response group in Northern Davao. He joined the group’s emergency missions, particularly in the search, rescue, and retrieval operations during the Compostela Valley landslide in December 2012. 

Meanwhile, Anduyan presently serves as the Dean of the College of Industrial Technology and Education in the Isabela State University. He initiated and implemented Project TEACH (Teach Every Agta Child), which develops the functional literacy of Agta children in Brgy. Cabisera 10, Ilagan City, Isabela. He also formed the Project DEMI (Dynamic English and Mathematics Instruction), a barangay-based literacy program which aims to empower school children of Brgy. Namnama, Ilagan City to acquire functional skills in reading, writing, and arithmetic. 

The SOV also acknowledges volunteer groups and organizations which cover the Not-for-Profit and the Corporate categories. 

One of the group awardees for the Not-for-Profit Category is the Volunteer Service Provider (VSP). It is composed of students from the San Pedro College in Davao City. In 2010, VSP started FLUSH (For the Love of Ultimate Hygiene and Sanitation) by constructing two ceramic toilet bowl units for the Matigsalog Tribe of Marilog District, Davao City. The group also initiated and implemented DOMES (Developing Ocean’s Man-made Eco-friendly Shelters), wherein they constructed six concrete domes that were then deployed in previously destroyed seabed at Purok Pigasaan, Samal Island, Davao del Norte. 

The Kabalikat Civicom – 475 Marinduque Chapter, another Not-for-Profit Category awardee, is one of the more than 700 chapters of the Kabalikat Civic Communicators Association, Inc. Kabalikat Civicom is the Philippines’ largest and most active civic communication group. The organization’s Marinduque chapter has a 24/7 Disaster Monitoring and Civic Rescue Team that can be deployed anywhere in the entire province. The group also disseminates early warnings to localities and makes available radios with portable antennas and solar powered communication systems which can be used in times of calamities. 

The recipient of the Corporate Category award is the PLDT Employee Volunteers, a group of PLDT employees who do volunteer works outside their regular working hours. One of the group’s most notable volunteer contributions is the TELEpuno, a 5-year tree planting program established in 2008 that has planted over 80,000 seedlings to restore the ecology of the Infanta-Real Quezon watershed reserve. 

Special citation will also be conferred to Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (DED) or the German Development Service. From 1990 to 2011, DED sent a total of 210 German volunteer development workers to the Philippines, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao. The DED established a Peace Building Program in 2003, which pushed for peaceful conflict resolution in Mindanao. It also created the Weltwaerts Program in 2008, which extends assistance in basic literacy, non-formal education, health, and environment concerns, among others. 

Carrying the theme “Volunteer for the MDGs: Fight HIV and AIDS”, the 2013 National Volunteers Month celebration will be headed by the NVM Honorary Chair Efren Penaflorida, 2009 CNN Hero of the Year and the 2008 Search for Outstanding Volunteer Awardee. 

Apart from the SOV, the PNVSCA will also be conducting a forum on “Filipino Youth Volunteering for HIV and AIDS” in January 2014. It is expected to gather about 100 youth participants from different youth organizations in Metro Manila who will be given the opportunity to express their commitment to volunteer in HIV- and AIDS-related activities. 

Further, the National Coalition on Volunteerism (NCV) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Programme, with the support from the Association of Foundations (AF) and Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), will also organize a two-day event entitled “Pugay-Kamay: Honoring the Volunteer Hands and Hearts of Hope”. 

The event aims to harness the strength of volunteerism for nation-building, participatory governance and resiliency of communities. 

A Kite-Flying Festival was held last Saturday, December 7, by the PNVSCA, NCV and UNV and participated in by local government officials from Davao, Cebu, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and Naga. The traditional kite-maker Pa Andang from Sulu/Tawi-tawi provided the kites which carried the words “Katapatan, Kalusugan, Kapayapaan.” 

Launched on December 5, 1998, the annual observance of NVM seeks to: (a) build nationwide public awareness and appreciation for volunteerism; (b) create an environment for encouraging voluntary action; and (c) recognize volunteers and their contributions to society.