CAGAYAN DE ORO City, June 9, 2011â€”After 25 years of sending â€œbulingitsâ€ to various partner organizations all over Mindanao, the Year of Service (YOS) of the Xavier University Science Foundation was named the Most Outstanding Volunteer Service Organization (Not-for-Profit category) for 2010 in the Search for Outstanding Volunteers 2010 awards held at the Manila Hotel recently.
Now officially named the Xavier University Community Outreach & Resource Development Volunteer Program-Year of Service (CORDVP-YOS), the YOS, as commonly and famously called gives young graduate-volunteers avenues to serve the rural areas and share in developing techniques and strategies to improve the social conditions in the areas they are assigned by partner organizations.
Myrna Aboniawan-Siose, program director, received the award from presidential sister Ma. Aurora Corazon “Pinky” Aquino-Abellada, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Cayetano W. Paderanga Sr., Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency Executive Director Joselito C. de Vera and Ricardo E. Reyes Jr. during the awarding night at the Manila Hotel on May 24, 2011, the 10th Year of the International Year of Volunteers.
â€œThe award was not an indication of success for YOS nor its end in 20 years. It was a signal that our mission is not yet finished and there are new challenges emerging,â€ she said.
â€œYOS shares this occasion with nine other awardees recognized for having contributed to nation building through various humanitarian, peace and development efforts. Our founder Archbishop Tony Ledesma and I accept the recognition in the name of volunteer service on behalf of the 300+ volunteers who joined the YOS since 1991 and those who laid the earlier journey ahead. Also in the name of YOS partner organizations and support institutions, partner peoplesâ€™ organizations and underserved communities the volunteers have offered their valuable YOS life in community service to begin a Culture of Volunteerism for life, hopefully,â€ she said in her acceptance speech.
Siose also appealed to the Aquino administration, particularly to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), which handed out the awards, â€œto set up a structure and system that shall nurture volunteers who opted to live up the Filipino virtues of â€œpagkukusaâ€ (volunteerism), â€œpag-aalayâ€ (offering of self), â€œpag-sisilbi at pagtulongâ€ (service and support) sa kapwa lalo na sa mas higit na nangangailangan ng ating pagkalinga.â€
She also pointed out the urgency to fill so huge a need for human resources in light of present threats to sustaining volunteersâ€™ sense of â€œMADâ€ness (Making A Difference-ness) in the lives of less fortunate Filipinos.
â€œI appeal to all of you, to all of us, to all who believe in volunteerism, to continue doing good, doing extra-ordinary for the common good, for the welfare and especially of those who can hardly experience what grace and goodness mean. Letâ€™s continue volunteering even in small, simple ways of becoming responsible and engaged citizen. I think, this is the only way we could give justice to our being Filipino, good Filipinos, indeed. Mabuhay ka, YOS volunteer/alumni!â€ Siose said.
Originally patterned after the Jesuit Volunteers Program (JVP), the YOS envisions a society, particularly in Mindanao, that is sustained with a human resource of social development professionals contributing to the achievement of the Peace and Development Agenda for Mindanao communities. It works hard to realize this dream by training and forming young professionals to serve Mindanao through volunteer service.
Founded by Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, the YOS volunteersâ€”who fondly refer to themselves as â€œbulingitsâ€ (literally â€œdirtyâ€) because of the literal dirty works they are sometimes exposed to do by partner organizations they are assigned withâ€”are now leaders in various fields of expertise in various areas of Mindanao and the Philippines.
Most of the volunteers that were blessed to have come into contact with Ledesma, Siose and other leaders of the YOS communityâ€”now numbering more than 300â€”continue to serve their communities and the Church even while holding office jobs in the private and public sector. (Bong D. Fabe)