Friday, April 17, 2009

Be a volunteer for change—Gordon

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today called on the Filipino people to become volunteers not only to help the country rise from the challenges of the global economic crisis but also to effect genuine change in the society.


Gordon, who led more than 8,000 volunteers in 1992 to establish the Subic Bay Freeport, said that volunteerism is an effective tool for change as evidenced by the successful development in Olongapo City and in Subic.


"The positive experience of the people of Olongapo City regarding the conversion of the former Subic Naval Base into a self-sustaining industrial, commercial, financial and investment, tourism and recreation center is a sterling example of the feat that volunteerism can achieve," he said..


In enjoining the people to become volunteers, Gordon supported President Arroyo's order to create a National Service Corps, patterned after the United States Peace Corps, which will enlist the services of the youth.


Under the program, unemployed and underemployed skilled youth or college graduates will undergo a two-year training course on volunteer service focused on their contributions to education and community service programs.


Gordon, chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, the country's largest and oldest humanitarian volunteer organization, said that the program would instill among the Filipino youth the spirit of volunteerism.


"It is important that we teach our youth the value of volunteerism to bring out in them the willingness to work for a cause and not just for compensation," he said.


"We in the PNRC have our programs for the youth wherein as young as elementary students undergo trainings that aim to develop or enhance the potentials of our young members to become good leaders and train them on how to administer basic first aid," he added.


Gordon has filed Senate Bill 144, also known as the Volunteer Act, which encourages volunteerism by providing volunteers the protection from liability and allowing the grant of incentives.


The measure seeks to protect volunteers that they may not be held liable for an act or omission within their scope of duties on behalf of the organization, unless the act or omission of the volunteer constitutes fraud, gross negligence, or crime.


The bill also allows the grant of incentives to volunteers in the form of insurance for injury, sickness, disability, or death of the volunteer during his or her incumbency in a non-profit organization or government entity. (30)

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