Entering its second decade of program implementation, the National Service Training Program-Civic Welfare Training Service (NSTP-CWTS) of Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) held its Graduation/Commissioning Rites on Saturday, 9th March 2013 at the Philippine Women’s College Auditorium in Davao City.  The ceremony was a fitting culmination of NSTP-CWTS’ academic year 2012-2013, graced by around 1,689 students, forty-six (46) faculty/formators, forty-eight (48) student volunteers and over 180 representatives of NSTP’s partner communities/institutions in Davao City.

Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, SJ, the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) presided the Eucharistic Celebration which preceded the graduation ceremony. The mass also served as the commissioning rite, part of the thanksgiving celebration for the end of the academic year as well as a special ritual to bless and empower students to continue living out the core values of what they have learned in the course of the whole program.

The NSTP-CWTS program of ADDU has been designed as an important venue in promoting the social thrusts of the university.  Inasmuch as it complies with CHED requirements regarding its curricular content in the promotion of active citizenship as a necessary component of nation-building, the program has also become a lynchpin in promoting the university’s social formation programs.  Administered by the Arrupe Office of Social Formation (formerly the Social Involvement Coordinating Office [SICO]), the program has, since its inception, facilitated in providing students wider opportunities to perform service―using the Service Learning model―to different partner communities and institutions as a way of concretizing the university’s core values of faith-driven service, preferential option for the poor, social justice, solidarity, the common good, among others.

An added feature to this school year’s culminating activity is the giving of special awards. The administration of the NSTP-CWTS headed by Ms. Lilibeth Leh-Arcena, NSTP Director, and Dr. Maria Teresa B. Isidor, NSTP-CWTS Coordinator, conferred special awards to those who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to the program’s greater cause of service to various communities and institutions in Davao City and beyond, as well as their invaluable commitment to the far greater thrust of social formation as embodied in the vision and mission of the university. In particular, these awards were conferred to the following: The Bagong Pag-Asa Homeowner’s Association of Catalunan Grande, for Best Community Partner Award; Ms. Pamela Sigrid A. Gozon for Best Team Leader Award, otherwise known as the “Blue Knight Sui Generis Award;” Mr. Archie Chedrick Z. Batu for Best Volunteer Award, also known as the “Richie Fernando Award;” and Ms. Jenny Costan-Amaneo for Best Formator Award, or the “Bishop Francisco Claver Award.”

In her Director’s Report, Ms. Arcena enumerated the important highlights of the program which included, among others: Its participation in the roll-out of the I-RISE Approach through the conduct of the forum on the Framework Agreement of the Bangsamoro (FAB); its participation in the preparation for the May 2013 elections through the Community Reflection sessions and the online electoral survey involving the deployment of NSTP-CWTS classes, with the assistance of the corps of Arrupe Volunteers; its involvement in the relief operation during the aftermath of Typhoon Pablo; its coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) in facilitating  substance abuse prevention as well as disaster risk reduction and management sessions in all its classes; its partnership with the research initiative of the Department of Languages; and its decision to extend the invitation for the Ateneo Student Exposure Program (ASEP) to its corps of NSTP-CWTS Volunteers.

As regard the NSTP-CWTS total project summary (accomplished by the forty-six classes) for the SY 2012-2013, Ms. Arcena reported the following figures:

 Project Categories

Total Cost
Infrastructure Php 179,331.80
Beautification Php 176,392.44
Chapel Repair Php 342,602.30
Relief Operations (assorted goods from students) Php 65,000.00
Education and Training Php 24,512.00
Environment Php 20,150.00
Health and Well-Being Php 15,283.40
Livelihood Php 11,886.00
Emergency and Safety Php 19,800.00
Sports and Recreation Php 2,500.00
TOTAL Php 857,457.94
Community Counterpart: Php 93,047.80Student Counterpart: Php 764,409.96

Mr. Elvi C. Tamayo, the Director of the Ignatian Spirituality and Formation Office (ISFO), a formation structure which directly governs the Arrupe Office, provided the opening remarks during the graduation ceremony.  Ms. Agnes Sagaral of the Association of NSTP Implementers of Region XI (ANIR XI) closed the ceremony with a message to the graduates. Dr. Isidor was the program’s master of ceremonies. (By M. Isabel S. Actub, Arrupe Communications & Advocacy)