The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance prescribing policies for the establishment of a volunteer program for the city, providing for an incentives system for volunteers and for other related purposes.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales states that it will be a declared policy of the local government to recognize voluntarism as a significant driver of political, economic and social development because it builds inclusion, ownership, solidarity, and social cohesion, volunteerism has the potential to lead to stronger communities, capacity development and increased social capital that would eventually redound to gaining beneficiaries from sustainable community development.
The purpose and coverage of this measure is to establish a program on volunteerism in the city government, prescribe guidelines for its operation, grant incentives system for volunteers and to determine the institutional mechanism for the implementation of the program.
The volunteer program shall be operationalized and implemented by the city government and shall serve as the centerpiece program to instill, promote, propagate and harness the spirit of volunteerism or ‘bayanihan’ among the people to be of service to the community in the collective aspiration towards sustainable community development, especially in bringing services to the most vulnerable and marginalized sectors and communities.
The ordinance stipulated that volunteerism in the local government shall be based on the field of expertise or fitness such as social services, technical development assistance, environmental management, secretariat or office administration services, janitorial and community cleaning services, disaster risk reduction and management, and other services that may be authorized by the city chief executive upon recommendation of the City Human Resource and Management Officer.
City officials and employees shall be encouraged to render at least 100 hours of community volunteer work under the aforesaid program outside of the official working days and shall aim at providing opportunity for government employees to express and actualize their personal motivations and desire to help others, especially the underserved and marginalized sectors of society.
The ordinance emphasized that volunteers who have successfully finished their term of engagement shall be conferred the ‘Ug-ugbo’ Merit Award in the form of an official medallion to be designed by the volunteer initiators. The confirmation shall be done in a simple yet meaningful ceremony on December 5, 2022 and every year thereafter coinciding with the celebration of the International Volunteer Day.
In addition, chosen volunteers shall be entitled to non-monetary compensation such as medical assistance, insurance coverage, burial assistance and other benefits provided by the accredited volunteer organization or the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
Within 3 years after the effectivity of the ordinance, or as the need arises, a joint executive-legislative-civil society organization oversight committee shall conduct a volunteers review to systematically evaluate the impact of the measure, as well as the performance and effectiveness of the institutional or enabling mechanisms created for purposes of determining remedial legislations.