February 26, 2024

A youth, an advocate for indigenous peoples, and a group helping children develop love for reading are this year’s regional nominees to the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSA).

The Regional Search Committee (RSC) for the Search for Outstanding Volunteers (SOV) and Bayanihan Media Awards endorsed the list of the 2023 regional nominees to the PNVSA.  

The SOV is an annual search that aims to spotlight outstanding Filipino volunteers and volunteer organizations for their exemplary performance and achievements to spark inspiration and encourage others to replicate their volunteering activities.

For the SOV Individual Youth category, the regional nominee is Clienteast Van B. Totanes of Tadian, Mountain Province.

He is engaged in various activities such as youth empowerment, basic life support and first aid training, furbabies for a cause, outreach programs, and tree planting activities.

Totanes is involved in various groups such as the Federated Youth Mobile Force where he is the vice president, Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo where he is the municipal chapter president, and Tadian Sayangdan Cultural Heritage Guild where he is the vice chairperson.

He is also a member of the Tadian Emergency Response Team and a Special Basic Military reservist.

The regional nominee for the SOV-Individual-Adult Category is Maria C. Aplaten, an advocate of indigenous peoples rights and education; environment protection, health, and well-being; culture and arts promotion; and education.

Aplaten’s greatest accomplishment as a community volunteer is founding the Hapiyoh Mi Culture and Arts Center, Inc. in 2000.

Through the organization, hundreds of Igorot youth were able to pursue university studies as cultural scholars. It also served as a vehicle to forward pressing issues and concerns of the Cordillera and other IP communities in the Philippines.

For the Organization-Non-Profit Category, the regional nominee is the Links-Building Bridges for Children, Inc. with their Hooked on Books (HOB) Library and Reading Program.

The main goal of the HOB project is for children to initially develop the genuine love for reading, learn the basic skills of reading, and later on, become engaged, independent readers with critical thinking skills.

The PNVSCA in collaboration with the Philippine Information Agency, the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges, and Mariano Marcos State University launched the 1st  Bayanihan Media Awards (BMA) in August, which aims to recognize media practitioners and organizations who have been instrumental in fostering a culture of volunteerism.

The BMA will honor media practitioners and organizations that have exhibited exemplary reporting on volunteerism across print, television, radio, and online media. 

The nominee for the Best in Print Media Reporting organization category is the Baguio Midland Courier

The RSC-Cordillera is chaired by the National Economic and Development Authority, PIA, Civil Service Commission, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and Department of Social Welfare and Development. The SOV is the centerpiece activity of the National Volunteer Month observed every December. It bolsters the advocacy for promoting volunteerism as a tool for national development. – Maria Aprila Cruz