IN THE BEGINNING of the journey, we didn’t see what lay ahead.
What started as a Values Integration and Promotion (VIP) seminar by Dean Vivian A.
Gonzales of the UPLB Office of Student Affairs with the assistance of Ms. Yvonne S.
Yuchengco and the Kalinangan Youth Foundation for a handful of freshmen in SY
1995-1996—first for 27 females, and later, 15 males—became an activity for the
heads of 180 student organizations under her Students’ Transformation and
Enrichment for Truth (STET) Program.
We didn’t notice that, after a year, when the Army Reserve Command decided to
engage the VIP as the Expanded ROTC’s Civic Welfare Service (CWS), it was a hint
that there were more things to be done, more to be expected of us.
We didn’t see VIP growing, and in SY 1996-1997, when the Values Integration and
Promotion-Civic Welfare Service (VIP-CWS) was pioneered in eight colleges and one
university in Laguna under the Expanded ROTC Program, we were inspired and we
resolved beyond belief to see it through—the lack of support, budgetary and
otherwise, notwithstanding. On May 31, 1999 the Commission on Higher Education
(CHED) endorsed the VIP-CWS Program of Instruction to all Higher Education
When the sixth and final batch of VIP-CWS cadets under the Expanded ROTC
Program graduated on March 15, 2002, a total of 25 barangays in Laguna had
benefited from 496 activities carried out by 1,759 VIP-CWS graduates in a span of six
years. Among others, VIP-CWS cadets planted trees, conducted various
environmental projects, held waste management and anti-drug campaigns, went on
anti-dengue drives and medical missions, sponsored youth sportsfests, and read to
and donated books for children. These cadets become shining examples of how young
lives had the power to create light. Together we learned, through teaching and
training, the dreams to be realized, the joys to be discovered, and the virtues to be
On January 23, 2002 President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law Republic Act
9163, or the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001. The thrusts of the
NSTP’s Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS) component, namely, moral of the
citizenry, entrepreneurship, environment, and social welfare services, are the same
ones previously specified in the VIP-CWS Course Syllabus. Many schools around the
country now benefit from the VIP-CWS experience through the VIP-CWS Qualifying
Course for Coordinators/Lecturers/Volunteers of the NSTP which the Society Towards
Reinforcing Inherent Viability for Enrichment (SIKAP/STRIVE) Foundation, Inc.
conducts regularly. CHED endorsed STRIVE Foundation’s VIP-CWS Qualifying Course
on February 28, 2002. Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)
likewise gave its endorsement on April 16, 2002.
After nine trainings held from May 2002 to May 2003, a total of 546 educators and
volunteers representing 250 Higher and Technical Education Institutions (HTEIs) from
16 regions completed the VIP-CWS Qualifying Course. The first year of VIP-CWS
under the NSTP culminated with the participation of 158 VIP-CWS
Coordinators/Lecturers/Volunteers and guests during the First VIP-CWS/NSTP
National Convention and Kabalikat Awards for Outstanding Community Project held
from May 15-17, 2003 at the DECS ECOTECH Center in Cebu City.
The VIP-CWS is now witnessing a tremor, not of the earth, but of consciousness: a
movement so slight it hangs in the air, refusing to go away, bringing with it new
companions on our journey. Joining the VIP-CWS under the NSTP are educators who
realize that the challenge has shifted from the battlefields to the struggle within
ourselves. However, neither the VIP-CWS story nor its journey ends there.
The VIP-CWS story is now the story of kindred spirits who, in solidarity, have joined
us on our journey, forever changed and changing still, with their coming…