The NSTP Diliman Office held its first virtual graduation last August 15, 2020 for students who completed their NSTP courses this Academic Year 2019-2020. This also served as an induction program for the graduates of Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS) and Literacy Training Service (LTS) components to the National Service Reserve Corps (NSRC). As reservists, the graduates may now be tapped by the state to perform duties related to literacy and civic welfare initiatives, especially during times of disaster.
The commencement theme “Maglingkod, Magmalasakit, Manindigan” calls for reservists to help the underserved communities and care for the marginalized sectors, values that are formed in their NSTP classes. This also serves as a reminder to all students that as “Iskolar ng Bayan”, they have a sense of duty to stand against injustices and relentlessly serve the people.
Vice Chancellor Ma. Theresa T. Payongayong, PhD gave her opening remarks to formally welcome the program’s participants. An inspirational message for the graduates was delivered by the guest speaker Mr. Joshua G. Danac, Convenor of the Scientists Unite Against COVID-19, an alliance of scientists, organizations and other Filipinos that echoes calls to expand testing efforts at the regional and local levels, and build the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity. Mr. Danac is a science research specialist at the UP National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology and also a member of the UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team. In his message, he urged the students that no matter how young they think they are, there is always something that they can contribute to the community . “Sa ganitong panahon pinaka-tumitindi ang diwa at katuwiran ng NSTP. Ang panawagan nito sa ating mga Iskolar ng Bayan, ang ating service – ang ating paglilingkod. Ito ang krisis na humahamon sa bawat isa sa atin. Now, more than ever, we need to step up and serve the people,” he emphasized.
The program also featured the NSTP students’ community engagement projects, fundraising activities, and awareness campaigns along with their partner communities and organizations. NSTP classes’ partner communities include Sitio San Roque Community, Bahay Aruga, He Cares Mission, Open School of Music, Krus na Ligas Elementary School and Save Our Schools Network, among others. Despite the difficulty in doing community engagements due to quarantine restrictions, the students turned to online platforms to disseminate information about their partner communities and collect donations through selling of various items. There were also classes who developed review material for college entrance exams.
In addition to that, NSRC and Citizen Armed Force were introduced to the students through a short audio visual presentation. This was followed by the NSRC Oath led by Asst. Prof. Giovanni Francis A. Legaspi, Deputy Director for NSRC.
The program also gave an opportunity for student representatives from each NSTP program component to share their experiences in NSTP and how they could carry on in serving others as reservists. Mr. Hans Christopher Daza from the Reserved Officers Training Corps shared his experiences as a member of the Rescue Unit and Platoon Sergeant. “Hindi lamang natatapos sa pagsasanay ang tawag ng paglilingkod. Mas malawak pa ang hinihingi nito. Ito ay ang paglilingkod sa aking kapwa Pilipino bilang kasapi ng CAF,” he said.
From the CWTS component, Mr. Moses Floresta recalled reading the personal accounts of the victims of human rights violations during the Martial Law since they were tasked to do indexing torture cases in partnership with Human Rights Violations Victims Memorial Commission (HRVVMC).
On the other hand, Ms. Ma. Andrea Ramos, who was also among the CWTS graduates, stressed that the initiatives of HRVVMC sheds light on the veracity of the victims’ narratives that are being drowned by fake news. This engagement made her realize that we are not truly free from the horrors of the past as injustice only manifests itself in other forms. She thereby encouraged her fellow reservists and Iskolar ng Bayan to be critical and use various spaces available to resist injustices and amplify the calls of the masses.
Meanwhile, in the midst of the health crisis, where learners and educators are confined to remote learning, Ms. Ann Margaret Tan expressed that reservists from the LTS component must take this opportunity to help in literacy development online or even in their own households. The program ended with a message from Assoc. Prof. Jonalou S. Labor, Director of the NSTP Diliman Office.
*The video is available in the NSTP Diliman’s Office YouTube account. If you are interested to view the said program, just send a message to email@example.com to acquire the link to the video.
By Vianne Grace C. Delfinado