The Ugnayan ng Pahinungod or Oblation Corps of the University of the Philippines, in coordination with the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA), opened on December 1, 2020 the country’s celebration of the National Volunteers Month with the webinar “HEIs Making a Difference Through Volunteerism: Ang Kuwento ng Pahinungod”. (Watch the replay of the webinar on YouTube or on the UP System Ugnayan ng Pahinungod Facebook page.
Through testimonies, the webinar showed the participating higher educational institutions (HEIs) the philosophy, history, and institutionalization of volunteerism in the state university, while presenting the experiences of the Pahinungod volunteers and beneficiaries.
UP President Danilo Concepcion, credited for reviving the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod as a UP System-wide volunteer service program coordinated through a UP System council, opened the program.
“In unifying the volunteer programs of constituent universities (CUs), we aim to firm up our efforts and be able to help more effectively,” he said in Filipino.
Former UP President Emil Javier, credited for establishing the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod in 1995, talked about the origins of the Ugnayan in 1994 when the University pondered on the question of “losing its soul”. The program formally operationalized the philosophy of volunteerism as another dimension of the University function, enhancing its teaching, research, and extension services.
The program was devolved to the CUs in 2001.
Ugnayan ng Pahinungod UP System Director Grace Aguiling-Dalisay talked about the operations, prospects, and challenges of the program since its revival under the UP System last year. She said the revival was a reiteration of UP’s leadership in public service.
A session presenting the testimonies of Pahinungod volunteers, community partners, and beneficiaries followed. The community partners who gave testimonials were Mayor Fernando Mesa of Alabat, Quezon, and Norman Jando, former principal of Kidawa National High School in Laak, Davao de Oro. Mesa coordinated medical missions to his municipality, and Jando, Gurong Pahinungod services to the school.
PNVCA Executive Director Donald James Gawe then invited the public to the activities lined up in December, which was declared the National Volunteers Month through Proclamation No. 55, Series of 1988.
PNVSCA accorded the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod a central role in the celebrations to highlight the important role of HEIs in the promotion of volunteerism, Gawe said.
The opening program was moderated by Pahinungod CU Directors Ruben Gamala of UP Visayas, Aurelio Vilbar of UP Cebu, and Doris Wilson of UP Baguio. Director Michael Gatela of UP Mindanao closed the program.
Sign language interpreters were provided by the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies.