WHAT IS VOLUNTEERISM?
Volunteerism is a program of the Parole and Probation Administration (PPA) aimed at generating maximum, effective and efficient citizen participation and community involvement in the process of client rehabilitation, prevention of crime and the overall administration of criminal justice.
WHAT ARE ITS ADVANTAGES?
Probation and parole, as community-based treatment programs, depend on available resources in the community for the rehabilitation of offenders. Thus, the Administration, recognizing the important role of the community as a rehabilitation agent, involves the community in probation and parole work through the use of volunteer workers and welfare agencies.
The use of volunteer workers in probation and parole is worth adopting because it opens new fields for community involvement in corrections and for training youth leaders, barangay organizations, and civic groups in social development work. The use of volunteers will also make it possible for the correctional system to exercise supervision of offenders at less cost to the government.
WHAT ARE THE LEGAL BASES FOR VPA PROGRAM OF THE PPA?
- Presidential Decree No. 968 permits the employment of Volunteer Probation Aides (VPA), specifically under Sec 28 which states:
“To assist the Provincial or City Probation Officers in the supervision of probationers, the Probation Administrator may appoint citizens of good repute and probity to act as probation aides.
Probation Aides shall not receive any regular compensation for services except for reasonable travel allowance. They shall hold office for such period as may be determined by the Probation Administrator. Their qualifications and maximum case loads shall be provided in the rules promulgated pursuant to this Decree.”
- On October 11, 2005, President Gloria M. Arroyo signed Executive Order No. 468 revitalizing the VPA Program of the PPA to strengthen community involvement and participation in crime prevention, treatment of offenders and the administration of criminal justice. This Executive Order provides the coordination among government agencies, non-government organizations and people’s orgnizations specifically under Section 3 which states:
“The PPA shall coordinate with other government agencies, non-government organizations and people’s organizations that are involved in developing programs related to volunteerism for the purpose of developing programs and attaining programs impact and synergy. Specifically, the support and cooperation of the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police Commission, the Liga ng mga Barangay, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Justice, among others, shall be tapped for the foregoing purpose.”
HOW DO THE VPAs DIFFER WITH OTHER VOLUNTEERS?
VPAs differ from other volunteers in that the former perform a highly specialized supervision service which directly have impact on the behavior of the clients. They serve as strengths and role models in ushering the reformation and treatment of offenders who are members of their own communities.
DO VPAs REPLACE THE FULL-TIME STAFF OF THE PPA?
No, the VPAs are not intended as replacement for full-time paid staff. However, their participation as part of a team under supervision will enhance the rehabilitation prospect of offenders by helping them in looking for jobs, schooling, training opportunities and other activities. Their work as volunteers will also give them a more favorable attitude toward corrections, and they will be in a better position to exert positive influence in developing favorable community attitudes towards the problems and needs of the offenders.
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF VPAs?
- Give continued affection to the client, even when specific behavior is unacceptable and build on whatever good points there are.
- Introduce new positive experiences into the client’s life.
- Be aware of the primary responsibilities to PPA and client.
- Respect confidentiality
- Honor all commitments and be on time for all appointments
- Consult with the PPA staff if in doubt on any matter.
- Keep PPA staff informed of any important change in client’s situation or of any significant incident.
- Be a good behavior model for the client in action and word.
- Participate enthusiastically in volunteer meetings and training sessions.
- Believe that human beings can change their behavior patterns since the primary objective is to help the client’s reentry into society.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS?
- Preferably 35 years old
- A reputable member of the community and of good moral character
- Preferably a resident of the same community as the client
- Preferably with adequate source of income or financially able
- Willing to serve without compensation
- Able and willing to prepare monthly reports on his supervision activities
- Has no criminal record of conviction except former clients who have shown exemplary behavior and may therefore be considered as role models of their fellow offenders
- With adequate good health
- Duly accomplished VPA application form
- Two ID (2 x 2) pictures
- Indorsement of and/or certification of Chief Probation and Parole Officer/Officer-in-Charge based on background investigation
- Recommendation of the Regional Director/Regional Officer-in-Charge
- Basic Training Course
- Knowledge on the Agency and its programs and services
- Team Building
- Designed to reinforce the values of cooperation and trust
- Specialized Training
- Provision of knowledge and skills on Restorative Justice, Therapeutic Community, Interviewing Skills, Reports Preparation, and Community Resource Development, among others.
HOW IS THE VPA APPOINTED?
- Candidate accomplishes the VPA application form
- Officer conducts background investigation
- Chief Probation and Parole Officer/Officer-in-Charge endorses application with required documents to the Regional Office
- Regional Director/Regional Officer-in-Charge recommends application to the Administrator
- Community Service Division reviews and evaluates application form and attachments, and prepares appointment
- Administrator signs appointment for a two-year term
- Community Services Division officially notifies the Regional Directors of VPAs appointed
- Secretary of Department of Justice attests appointment
- VPA takes an Oath of Office administered by the Chief Probation and Parole Officer/Officer-in-Charge concerned
- PPA issues VPA ID to be surrendered upon termination or revocation of appointment, or upon renewal of ID
WHAT IS THE TERM OF SERVICE?
The VPA shall be appointed for two (2) years by the Administrator through the Community Services Division and the National Screening Committee subject to renewal/revocation thereafter, upon the recommendation of the Regional Director.
WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF THE VPA?
- Work in close coordination and cooperation with the Supervising Officer.
- Keep all information about the supervisee in strict confidentiality.
- Maintain an honest recording and monthly reporting of activities to the Supervising Officer.
- Devote a substantial and quality time for supervision of clients and perform the following tasks:
- offer guidance and counseling
- act as job placement facilitator
- implement treatment objectives as provided for in the program of supervision
- refer to corresponding agencies clients with spiritual, mental, social, emotional, economic, physical or health needs
- act as resource individual
WHAT ARE THE ROLES OF THE VPA?
The role of the VPA may be classified into two categories:
- As Direct Supervisor who undertakes the following:
- Supervise a maximum of five (5) clients at any given time
- Work closely with officer-on-case and Chief Probation and Parole Officer/Officer-in-Charge and discuss treatment plan and status of clients
- Submit monthly accomplishment reports to officer-on-case or Chief Probation and Parole Officer/Officer-in-Charge and other reports as may be required
- Perform such other tasks as may be assigned by the officer-on-case or Chief Probation and Parole Officer/Officer-in-Charge
- As Resource Individual who acts as:
Resource Speaker on Volunteerism, Restorative Justice, Therapeutic Community and other topics
Counselor to other clients/people who need help
Donor, sponsor or referring person
Program coordinator of client activities
Mediator, Restorative Justice implementor, Therapeutic Community facilitator
HOW ARE THE VPAs ASSIGNED CASES?
- Supervising Officer identifies a suitable match of VPA and client.
- Chief Probation and Parole Officer or Supervising Officer informs the VPA and the client of the planned assignment of the case to the VPA and explains the program and the progress.
- Chief Probation and Parole Officer assigns case to VPA under the charge of a Supervising Officer by way of an Office Order.
- Supervising Officer formally introduces the client to the VPA.
- VPA conducts initial interview to determine the basic information and circumstances of client.
- VPA and client formulate tentative plans on how to facilitate and undertake the supervision process.
- VPA takes time to study client’s records, investigation report and supervision history, Supervision Treatment Plan, Supervision Case Notes, Payment Plan, etc., which shall all be treated with strict confidentiality.
- VPA conducts subsequent supervision interviews and periodic house and workplace visits, results of which are to be reported to the Supervising Officer and recorded in the Supervision Case Notes of client.
- VPA attends and performs allied supervision activities and accomplishes VPA Monthly Reports
WHAT ARE THE INCENTIVES/AWARDS GIVEN TO THE VPAs?
A VPA may be entitled to receive the following incentives and awards:
1. Plaque of recognition shall be awarded to VPAs who have rendered invaluable contribution in the rehabilitation of clients.
2. Certificate of Appreciation to VPAs who obtained a Very Satisfactory (VS) Rating for two (2) consecutive rating periods.
3. VPAs shall be entitled to any support/assistance or benefits (such as discount in transportation, health and accident insurance) that may be negotiated with participating agencies or organizations.
MAY THE APPOINTMENTS OF THE VPAs BE RENEWED?
Yes, the VPA appointment may be renewed for the following reasons with consent of the VPA concerned:
- The VPA has successfully served/performed the duties and functions as Volunteer for a period of two (2) years.
- The VPA has sustained interest in volunteer work and actively participates in the activities of the Agency.
- The VPA has obtained a satisfactory performance rating based on the evaluation of the Chief Probation and Parole Offcier for three consecutive rating periods.
- The VPA does not violate any of the reasons for the revocation of appointment
WHAT ARE THE STEPS FOR RENEWING THE VPA APPOINTMENT?
- One month prior to expiration of appointment, the Chief Probation and Parole Officer or Supervising Officer reviews the performance of the VPA.
- If satisfactory, Chief Probation and Parole Officer or Supervising Officer seeks written consent of VPA to continue with volunteer service and option to renew appointment.
- Chief Probation and Parole Officer recommends renewal of appointment of VPA to the Regional Director.
MAY THE APPOINTMENTS OF THE VPAs BE REVOKED?
Yes, the VPA appointment may be revoked for any of the following or similar reasons:
- Commission of offense
- Violation of any function or disclosure or misuse of confidential information
- Undue personal interest with the client
- Abuse of authority as VPA
- Unauthorized use of resources for personal benefit
- Unwarranted meddling in the affairs/activities of personnel and other VPAs
- Physical and mental illness or incapacity
WHAT ARE THE STEPS FOR REVOKING THE VPA APPOINTMENT?
- Supervising Officer reports to Chief Probation and Parole Officer any information about possible reason or ground for revocation.
- Chief Probation and Parole Officer validates report or information and if confirmed, prepares a report with supporting documents, if necessary.
- Chief Probation and Parole Officer recommends revocation of appointment of VPA through the Regional Director
- Regional Director indorses recommendation of Chief Probation and Parole Officer to the Administrator.
- Administrator officially notifies VPA of revocation of appointment and termination of volunteer services.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE VPA ORGANIZATIONS ?
The establishment of local and national level VPA organizations is of vital importance for effective promotion, utilization and sustainability of the VPA program. The basic purpose of establishing a VPA organization is to provide a support group for the individual VPA members that can cater to their needs such as training, gathering of resources, etc., as well as those of the clients. The vision is to have an empowered VPA organization that will eventually be able to function independently and provide for its own needs.
Most of the activities related to the rehabilitation of clients are done at the unit level. It is therefore necessary to have a volunteer organization at this level to foster the spirit of community membership.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO ESTABLISH VPA ORGANIZATIONS AT THE UNIT LEVEL?
- If there are at least ten (10) VPAs in one locality (barangay or municipal level), or field office, the field office may encourage such volunteers to form their organization at their option. This is in line with the grassroots-level approach of organizing volunteers.
- VPAs may undergo training on “Team Building” and/or “Organizing” before forming an organization.
- Field office shall provide guidance and assistance in forming the VPA organization.
- When the VPA organization is formed, all members shall meet and elect officers composed of at least of the three (3) core positions of Chairman or President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
- Upon election of officers, committees with specialized responsibilities may be formed, such as:
- Community Resource Committee – responsible for generating the resources needed for the various programs of the organization;
- Training Committee – responsible for conducting trainings and workshops and coordinating with concerned agencies for such activities;
- Recruitment Committee – responsible for disseminating information and attracting new volunteers;
- Social Services Committee – responsible for developing and facilitating programs for the client’s and/or family’s basic social needs;
- Secretariat Committee – responsible for documentation and administrative services; and
- Special Affairs Committee – responsible for special projects, activities, including drafting of constitution and by-laws, policies, and rules and regulations governing their organization.
- If the VPA organization wishes to formalize its independent legal nature to acquire juridical personality, it may register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a non-profit, non-stock organization with the following suggested objectives:
- Offer advice, upon request of the PPA, in developing constructive policies, standards, procedures, and programs as well as on matters relating to the improvement of volunteerism methods and to the solution of problems confronting the VPA program;
- Promote among the members through assembly, study and discussion, uniform and consistent interpretation and application of volunteerism policies and practices;
- Serve as a clearing house of information among members and between members and the PPA, and provide a system of feedback between the community and the PPA;
- Advocate the use of methods of volunteerism and resources that will contribute most to good governance;
- Assume an active role in crime prevention and community relations;
- Provide assistance and facilitate various VPA activities that will advance the aims and objectives of volunteerism; and
- Organize activities for the continuous formation of VPAs and recommend mechanisms for selection and awarding of outstanding VPAs.
The field office shall have minimum supervision on this matter; however, it may help facilitate the accomplishment of the registration requirements and other basic registration procedures. The VPA organization may also seek accreditation with the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA), subject to its requirements.
WHAT IS THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF VPA ORGANIZATIONS?
The national federation of VPA organizations will be instituted as an umbrella organization for the unit volunteer organizations and shall act as the National Organization of VPAs. It acts as support group for the unit organizations in terms of resource generation and training for VPAs. An interim board shall be constituted to comprise the national federation of VPA organizations. It shall act as governing body of the unit organizations. Initially, PPA shall take the lead in the recruitment of popular, reputable, and influential personalities as “catalysts” to become members of the interim board. The objective is to have respected and charismatic leaders who can lend prestige, color and status to the organization. The members of the interim board shall continue to hold office until such time that the unit organizations are in place, and a new set of officers from among the VPA organizations are elected.
On January 18, 2007, the National Federation of VPA Association was officially organized in University Hotel, UP Diliman Campus. VPA Gideon “Ike” Patricio of Region VI was elected president along with Cesar L. Villanueva of Region IV as Executive Vice President, Jovito A. Jolo, Sr. of Region IV as Vice President for Luzon, Jacinto V. Torres of Region VI as Vice President for Visayas, Olivita A. Alvaro of Region XI as Vice President for Mindanao, Brigid S. Tan of Region VI as Executive Secretary, Virginia M. Peralta of Region IV as Assistant Secretary, Rodolfo P. Serrano of Region VIII as Treasurer, Ma. Linda A. Alcid of Caraga as Assistant Treasurer, Benjamin G. Leano of Region IV as Auditor, Allan A. Santillan of Region V as Assistant Auditor, Jovencita C. Balut of Region II as Public Information Officer of Luzon, Rodrigo B. Miranda of Region VII as Public Information Officer of Visayas, Edgar G. Sola of Region XI as Public Information Officer of Mindanao, and Timoteo M. Olaer of Region XI as Business Manager.