Volunteering for Our Planet

Environmental Cleanups in Celebration of International

December 4, 2009. Tomorrow, hundreds of local and foreign volunteers will join in global celebrations for International Volunteer Day with environmental cleanup activities in Marikina River and Manila Bay. At 7am, an expected 300 volunteers will assemble at Marikina Social Action Center for post-Ondoy cleanup. At 3pm, 200 volunteers will commence cleanup activities along Manila Bay, at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area.

International Volunteer Day on Saturday December 5, is on its 24th year, having been established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985. Now a truly global event, thousands of events are celebrated across the globe in tribute to the thriving volunteer spirit.

This year’s global theme for International Volunteer Day is “Volunteering for our Planet”, which is timely given our recent onslaught of tropical typhoons. As such, the activities planned for the Philippines concentrate on raising awareness of climate change and environmental issues, but also aim to inspire action.

Volunteerism is a work of the heart

International Volunteer Day celebrates the spirit of selfless giving of time and services, as witnessed by the widespread display of volunteerism after Typhoon Ondoy. Continuing the post-Ondoy assistance, 300 volunteers will assist Marikina residents in rehabilitating their backyard.

Joselito C. De Vera, Executive Director of the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency says: “International Volunteer Day is one of our major activities celebrating during National Volunteer Month in December, when we recognise the contributions of volunteers to society and heightened public awareness on volunteerism. We recognise that one of the pressing concerns nowadays is rehabilitation work after the onslaught of typhoon Ondoy in Metro Manila, which is continuously undertaken through the help of volunteers.”

“Volunteering for our Planet”

Rey Aguinaldo, Project Manager of the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA), under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources says: “We are pleased that the Las Piñas – Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area was chosen as the venue to celebrate International Volunteer Day. This area needs help from various groups to keep it free from garbage brought about by the wave action of Manila Bay and the rivers that bound the area at both ends.”

Keeping the LPPCHEA clean is meaningful given its consideration as a wetland of global importance, hosting at least 80 species of migratory birds and being the only wild bird breeding area in Metro Manila. According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, it is the last piece of relatively intact mangrove ecosystems in Manila Bay.

The International Volunteer Day events in Metro Manila also coincide with events planned across the country, with simultaneous environmental awareness and cleanup activities held in Naga City, Siquijor, Dumaguete, Baguio City and Tacloban.

Sponsors and Organisers of International Volunteers Day

International Volunteer Day is a collaborative effort of foreign and local volunteers: United Nations Volunteers, Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development, Volunteering for International Development from Australia, United States Peace Corps, Korea International Cooperation Agency – Korea Overseas Volunteers, Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers and VSO-Bahaginan.

It is supported by volunteer- and environment-focused government agencies and cities: Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Office, Department of Natural Environment and Resources, City Government of Marikina.

For more information

Contact: Cherie McCosker, Co-Chair International Volunteer Day Steering Committee, 0916 202 3429, ivd2009.philippines@gmail.com, www.unv-ph.org/ivd2009/