Two Bicolanos, Lowel Andrian M. Solayao, of Pilar, Sorsogon and Jessie T. Abocado of Pamplona, Camarines Sur, were recognized as outstanding volunteers by the National Volunteer Month Steering Committee during the awarding ceremony held on December 15, 2017 at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in Ortigas Center, Quezon City.
The two Bicolano volunteers were among the eight recipients of the national awards for this year. Mr. Solayao and Mr. Abocado were this year’s awardees for the Individual-Youth and Adult categories, respectively, of the 2017 Search for Outstanding Volunteers.
Mr. Solayao, a physics teacher at the Pilar Comprehensive National High School was cited for painstakingly establishing the Pilar Reading Center (PRC) in the municipality of Pilar, Sorsogon. It started in 2010 when Mr. Solayao gathered the children for a storytelling time in a nipa hut on the shore of Barangay Banuyo. The children were part of the 18 families living in stilt houses along the shore. Through the years, the center has grown as an alternative learning hub to help children improve reading comprehension and engage in other educational activities such as writing, arts, games and theater. It also offers free review sessions for college entrance test and Licensure Exam for Teachers, computer literacy training, art workshops, mother’s workshops, journalism training, spelling bee contest, reading camps, and science and technology on-line writing competition. Seeing Mr. Solayao’s passion, friends, mothers, young people, civic-minded citizens, government agencies and private sector groups supported PRC by donating books and volunteering as readers and literacy advocates. What is more inspiring is that some of Mr. Solayao’s students even convinced their parents to set up a corner in their homes as a mini-reading center.
Mr. Abocado, a native of San Gabriel, Pamplona, Camarines Sur was given the outstanding volunteer award for his persistence and dedication to improve the lives of his fellow farmers. Working as a farm technician, he knew that the lack of irrigation facilities in Pamplona was a major challenge in attaining the full productive potential of the area. Believing that farmers will become more productive given the proper access to agricultural resources and facilities, he engaged in various capacity-building activities and coordinated with government and non-government organizations to equip himself with sufficient knowledge and skills to help empower the farmers. He helped organize 13 duly registered farmers’ organizations in Pamplona and neighboring municipalities. Through his assistance and interventions, these organizations were granted projects by the Department of Agriculture, which enabled them to boost rice productivity and gain access to farming and irrigation facilities, as well as various capacity –building activities.
The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency spearheads the search in partnership with the National Economic Development Authority regional offices and other national line agencies. The conferment of the awards was the highlight of the celebration of the National Volunteer Month held every December.
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