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Oldest NGO Receives Lifetime Award

Oldest NGO Receives Lifetime AwardThe Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), the Philippines oldest non-governmental organization (NGO) engaged in rural development, recently received the “Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award for 2007” from the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA).

PRRM, which was founded in 1952 by a group of civic-minded Filipino leaders headed by the late Dean Conrado Benitez, received the award “in recognition of its outstanding achievements as a volunteer development organization, as a pioneer and leader in harnessing volunteerism as a strategy in accomplishing its goals and objectives.” the organization was the first NGO to send youth volunteers to work in the rural villagers in order to carry out an integrated fourfold program of education, livelihood, health and self-governance. This was in the early fifties, when the country was just recovering from the throes of the Huk rebellion, after then Huk Supremo Luis Taruc surrendered to President Ramon Magsaysay. Taruc’s hometown of San Luis, Pampanga was one of the first sites or PRRM’s Rural Development program.

PRRM’s work was so successful that President Magsaysay decided to replicate it throughout the country through the Presidential Assistant on Community Development (PACD). PACD later evolved into the Department of Local Government and Community Development (DLGCD), the predecessor of today’s Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Other PNVSCA awardees for 2007 include Father James Reuter of the Ateneo University; National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) Commissioner Myrna Yao; Brother Crispin Betita of the Marist Congregation; Sheryl Paringit, a student leader of the University of La Salette of Santiago, Isabela; and Juvelyn V. Gumal-in, a volunteer worker among the Mangyans of Mindoro.

The awards were handed out in a ceremony at the EDSA Shangri-la Hotel last December 12 by 2007 Ramon Magsaysay awardee and Gawad Kalinga founder and president, Antonio Meloto. Also present at the ceremony was last year’s Volunteer Lifetime Achievement awardee, former Senator Helena Z Benitez, who is PRRM’s chairperson emeritus.

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