LEADERS from 79 local government units (LGUs) across 12 provinces were trained to strengthen volunteerism as a tool to meet local development priorities.
The training was conducted by the United States Peace Corps and the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) for more than two months from August to September 2022.
According to the US Embassy in Manila, the US Peace Corps is an American volunteer organization that has deployed more than 9,300 volunteers to request host communities in the country since 1961.
Alongside LGU representatives from Luzon and Visayas, joining the training were the Australian Volunteers Program, Voluntary Service Overseas, France Volunteers, the Global Initiative for Exchange and Development and the Korean International Cooperation Agency.
According to the embassy, the series of training equipped participants with knowledge and skills to mainstream volunteerism by adopting local laws and establishing provincial councils, among other actions.
It said some LGU participants, such as the Provincial Government of Pangasinan, are in the final stages of passing a provincial volunteerism ordinance and establishing a volunteerism center of excellence.
During one of the workshops, US Peace Corps Country Director Jenner Edelman said volunteerism is alive and well in the Philippines.
“With the leadership and know-how of LGUs, it can be a powerful tool for achieving community-level development,” Edelman said.
Meanwhile, PNVSCA Executive Director Donald James Gawe said volunteerism is a way of life.
“It is the government’s role to create an enabling environment for volunteerism and institutionalize it as a development strategy for both provincial-level development and nation-building,” Gawe said.
Gawe was the driving force behind the training and the agency’s strategic focus on strengthening national volunteerism.
The embassy said US Peace Corps volunteers will be returning to the Philippines in January 2023 to support PNVSCA and LGU partners in mainstreaming volunteerism in Filipino communities, among other locally identified priorities.