December has been designated as a National Volunteer Month (NVM) through Proclamation #55 series of 1998. This year, the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) offered the opening ceremony for National Volunteer Month to the UP Ugnayan ng Pahinungod, the public service program of the University of the Philippines.
UP President Danilo Concepcion, in his welcome remarks, thanked the PNVSCA for offering UP the opportunity to open the NVM. He said that in reviving the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod in 2019 he wanted to give renewed energy for volunteerism in the national university. In unifying once more the Pahinungod into the UP System, his goal was to further strengthen and intensify the volunteerism activities in a better and more effective way. He noted the timeliness of reviving the Pahinungod in 2019 as the nation soon experienced calamities that allowed UP to respond.
Former UP President Emil Javier, in his keynote message, expressed his deep personal gratitude to President Concepcion and collective appreciation of the UP community for breathing new life into Pahinungod, most importantly for providing more resources to the program. “So before you leave, Mr. President, I would like to thank you personally with Attorney Gaby by your side,” he said.
Dr. Javier recounted the highlights in the creation of the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod. He closed his talk with two anecdotes touching on UP Mindanao. “My favorite story is of the three lady volunteers of UP Visayas who went to the hinterlands of Compostela Valley [now Davao de Oro] to put up a high school at the request of the municipal council. Now I understand that the high school which these three young ladies worked on has become a regular high school. And my favorite story is about the UP Mindanao Pahinungod delegation who came to join the UP Diliman Lantern Parade.”
Former Kidawa National High School principal Dr. Norman Jandog, in his testimony, said, “The Pahinungod brought the longed-for dream of our community for secondary education. We had six full years of partnership with Pahinungod [in 1998 to 2004], and I met 56 Gurong Pahinungod volunteers.”
Thirteen years after helping build the Kidawa school, Mr. Michael Gatela, a former Gurong Pahinungod volunteer, was named officer-in-charge, and later, director, of the revived UP Mindanao Ugnayan ng Pahinungod in June 2019. He immediately embarked on promoting the volunteer service program to the incoming first-year students of UP Mindanao. In the “Tagbo” student leadership camp in July 2019, six students signed up to be service volunteers.
Director Gatela organized affirmative action tutorials for public high school students from remote Barangay Marilog, Davao City. UP Mindanao alumni served as volunteer tutors. Next, he organized an action research seminar for public high school teachers of Veruela, Agusan del Sur, a UP Land Reservation site. UP Cebu’s Prof. Aurelio Vilbar served as the resource person.
When the Mindanao earthquakes occurred in October 2019, the UP Mindanao Pahinungod was called upon to focus its efforts on disaster risk reduction. It coordinated and facilitated the UP response in the delivery of geological, psycho-social, shelter, and relief services to Cotabato province. The UP Mindanao Pahinungod gave a psycho-social intervention seminar to guidance counselors of Davao City schools and capped the year with a gift-giving and Christmas party for children in a Cotabato evacuation center.
Back in the education domain, in August 2020, the UP Mindanao Pahinungód, together with other UP Mindanao units, facilitated the admission to UP Mindanao of five graduates from public high schools in Laak, Davao de Oro, through the Iskolar ng Bayan Act.
When the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the shift to remote learning, the UP Mindanao Pahinungod assisted the UP Kaagapay sa Pag-aaral program in providing 33 UP Mindanao students and other UP students based in Mindanao with electronic gadgets and internet connectivity from July 2020 onward.
For teachers from Mindanao and Cebu, the UP Mindanao Pahinungod co-organized the webinar, “Assessment with Action Research in Remote/Online Learning Context," on 25 November 2020. Prof. Aurelio Vilbar once again served as the lead resource person who demonstrated a “pandemic pedagogy.” The webinar, available for viewing at https://bit.ly/33ikYBU, has since earned 565 views.
On 05 December 2020, the UP Mindanao Pahinungod delivered a community disaster risk-reduction service through a Psychological First-Aid Webinar, co-organized with the Ugnayan ng Pahinungód Committee on Psychosocial Emergency Services (UP CoPES). Though intended for volunteers from the UP Mindanao community, it also attracted persons from another university, eventually ending with 12 new volunteers, including a medical doctor, an anthropologist, and university peer-counselors.
Pahinungod Director Dr. Grace Aguiling-Dalisay, in her talk, gave a two-year report covering the period since the new beginning of the Pahinungod and the upcoming programs. Next, a number of Gurong Pahinungod volunteers, community partners in the person of Municipal Mayor Fernando Mesa, and Principal Norman Jandog gave individual testimonies.
Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency Executive Director Donald James Gawe gave remarks and enumerated the upcoming NVM activities.
UP Mindanao Pahinungod Director Michael Gatela gave the closing remarks, acknowledging everybody, and closed by encouraging everyone to be engaged: ”Makibahagi at maglingkod! ...Ituloy ang kwento ng pahinungod! Ipagpatuloy ang kwento ng boluntarismo!”
Read an invitation from the UP Ugnayan ng Pahinungod Office below:
CELEBRATE NATIONAL VOLUNTEER MONTH WITH US!
On December 1 (Tuesday). at 9 A.M., listen to the stories of Pahinungod volunteers and community partners throughout the years and learn how volunteerism in higher education institutions contributes to making a difference to the nation.
This webinar is brought to you by the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod, UP's volunteer service program., in partnership with the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency and the DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies.
Joining us are two very special guests, UP President Danilo L. Concepcion, who paved the way for Pahinungod's revitalization, and former UP President Emil Q. Javier, Founder of the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod.