Given the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, a show of solidarity exhibited through volunteering is encouraging.
Early of 2020, individuals from all walks of life, as well as private and public institutions, have been doing volunteering endeavors – this actress building hospital tents for COVID patients, one municipal mayor auctioning his well-loved signature shoes to sustain the needs of his constituents, that boy who voluntarily gave facemasks at the onset of the pandemic, these people who out of their comfort zones went out to give a share of what they have, those private organizations who shared their part to support people’s food needs; the people and the church from different religious groups doing the same volunteering act for the sole reason of helping others; the government initiatives; the doctors and front-liners who even risked their own precious lives just to save others from the virus and many other stories.
State colleges and universities did their share for the same cause.
The University of Rizal System (URS) in Rizal initially reports of the cash assistance extended, groceries package distributed, psycho-social support given, hygiene sets, facemasks, and food and beverages were given to front liners and selected beneficiaries.
Also, in a bid to supply the Province of Rizal with bar soaps that will aid the combat of Coronavirus, URS has initiated the Production of Soap to Combat Covid 19 aptly called Project POST. The project aimed to produce antibacterial bar soaps to help combat the spread of the virus. Production of the total package and distribution of the soap started in October 2020. Distribution of the soap bars to local government unit front liners, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other military personnel, hospital crews, and the municipalities, in general, is going on this February 2021. The project was likewise done with the aid of and in consonance with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) mandate to produce non-medicine materials.
Meanwhile, URS had initiated the production of facemasks in the form of an extension project. Approved by CHED, a total of P480, 605 has been allotted for the project. A total of 10,300 pieces of high-quality washable facemasks have been produced and were distributed to COVID – 19 front liners.
The University was also instrumental in aiding the victims of Typhoon Ulysses when it was able to send relief help to its URS students in Rodriguez and Tanay.
In addition, the University has been extending technical support to the returning and displaced Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) during this period of the pandemic. Specifically, URS, in partnership with Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiative, Incorporated (ATIKHA) initiated the webinar on starting a business for OFWs and their families, which preceded other seminars on business plan development, business coaching, and mentoring. ATIKHA is a non-governmental organization that provides economic and social services to overseas Filipinos and their families in the Philippines.
Consequently, ATIKHA has recommended URS to the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) as an outstanding partner of the BalikaBayanihan Campaign for extending technical support to the returning and displaced OFWs. The PNVSCA, an arm of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) is the government agency mandated to promote volunteerism and coordinate the volunteer service program in the Philippines. PNVSCA closely works with other government agencies, non-government organizations, the academe, the corporate group, the media, and other partners in converging and linking the different volunteering efforts and resources so that they are aligned with national priorities and assist especially the marginalized sectors and communities.
Indeed, volunteerism is very much alive at URS! // abcampo