Malayan Colleges Laguna, A Mapúa School’s (MCL) Jose Rizal Award for Excellence in Virtue in Community Service (JRAEVCS) is an institutional award conferred to a graduating MCL student who has had commendable community engagement initiatives all throughout their college years. The award represents MCL’s commitment to continuously encourage students to pursue their passion and commitment to serve and create positive impacts on the lives of individuals and communities, especially the disadvantaged. The Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement (CSCE) facilitated the overall conduct of the JRAEVCS.
This year’s JRAEVCS nominees presented their own community engagement portfolios to the CSCE and members of the Award Selection Committee (ASC) last June 30, 2022. The ASC consisted of three (3) individuals from the Administration and Faculty, namely, Prof. Christie C. Amores (current Cluster Chair of the Social Sciences Department of the College of Arts and Sciences or CAS); Mr. Rafael Louise D. Gregorio (Head of the Center for Student Advising of the Student Affairs Office or SAO); and Dr. Roel C. Rodrigo (Director of the Learning Environments and Innovations Office or LEIO).
Ms. Jocelyn T. Bellin, CSCE Director, facilitated the JRAEVCS program and presentation of the nominees’ portfolios. Two (2) MCL graduating students were nominated by their respective Deans and Program Chairs to be this year’s JRAEVCS finalists: Mr. Dustin O. Divina, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication graduating student (CAS), and Ms. Shelishiyah Mers M. Fulo, a Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management graduating student from the Enrique T. Yuchengco College of Business (ETYCB). Both have finished their academic requirements with exemplary status and will be participating in the face-to-face graduation ceremony in September 2022.
Each nominee presented the projects and initiatives for 30 minutes, and confidently responded to each of the ASC members’ questions. To date, the recipients of the JRAEVCS have totaled nine (9) since the award was initially given in 2014.
Mr. Dustin O. Divina
As a communication practitioner and a social influencer, Mr. Divina brought himself closer to the less privileged with his very first project called “Helping Hands” in 2016, where he distributed food and clothing to those who lived beside the railways. This initiative then led him to undertake several civic engagements.
One of his notable works was “Talentulong,” a series of multimedia fundraising activities that addressed the plight of the victims of the recent natural calamities in 2020. ‘Talentulong’ made use of artistic and informational content that enticed social media users to lend financial donations. Through this engagement, Mr. Divina could gather a modest amount for the benefit of those affected by typhoon Rolly and Ulysses with the help of Pluma ni Juan and CSCE; the former being an organization that aims to build a stronger foundation in establishing partnerships and communities in the Philippines. Pluma ni Juan is solely run by teachers alongside their former students to induce public awareness using available educational materials, while CSCE as the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of MCL. Moreover, ‘Boto Mo #Bansa Mo’, a sub-project of Talentulong, encouraged the youth to become registered voters and taught them the importance of exercising one’s right to suffrage.
In his most recent engagement last April 22, 2021, titled “Dokyung Bayan,” Mr. Divina documented the process of the distribution of financial assistance or ayuda in the City of Calamba at the height of Covid-19 lockdown. This documentary showed the process by which the citizens claimed their ayuda and who expressed dismay over health protocols being completely overlooked in the process of the provision of financial assistance from their respective barangays. This led Mr. Divina to question the process of cash distribution in Calamba City through a video documentary, accompanied by relevant facts about the city and interview clips with some cash aid recipients.
The video documentary reached the attention of then Calamba City Mayor Chipeco, together with the DSWD, who later engaged Mr. Divina in a serious discussion regarding the contents of the video documentary. Thus, Mr. Divina’s community project has spurred public interest among the citizens concerned and has proven its relevance at the height of the global health crisis.
Ms. Shelishiyah Mers M. Fulo
As a Tourism Management (TM) student, Ms. Fulo had the opportunity to travel to selected communities where some famed tourist spots are. The experience also served as an eye-opener, which made her realize and witness the plight of the less privileged. She then developed her skills in interpersonal communication which helped her to focus on initiating different donation drives for the benefit of her chosen beneficiaries and spearheaded different activities. With the help of the Hospitality and Tourism Enthusiastic Leadership Society (HOTELS), Ms. Fulo was able to conduct feeding programs and distribute hygiene kits to the Children’s Joy Foundation. With the same foundation, a donation drive was made for the benefit of the victims of Typhoon Rolly and Ulysses.
The Taal Volcano erupted in January 2020 and displaced many residents within the affected area in Batangas. Ms. Fulo also reached out to the victims and, together with her dormmates, initiated a food relief operation. From her initial community engagement activity under the National Service Training Program (NSTP), Ms. Fulo conducted English and Math lessons with selected elementary students from Casile Elementary School, along with the distribution of food and school supplies. She has also partnered with the CSCE to provide hygiene kits to Pulo National High School, Southville 1 Integrated National High School and Biñan Integrated National High School-Timbao Campus and to undertake a fund-raising activity for Brigada Eskwela in September 2021.
Ms. Fulo’s biggest community initiative yet was the “Bente-Bente ngayong 2020”, a donation drive for the communities affected by typhoons Rolly and Ulysses and by the Mt. Mayon eruption in the Bicol region. She used her social media platform, such as Facebook, to inform the public about the situation and the needs of the communities like food supplies, clothes, medicine, and other necessities. Ms. Fulo collected funds for the purchase of relief supplies for the families affected by these calamities.
As the JRAEVCS presentation ended, the CSCE gave a Certificate of Recognition to the nominees in sincere appreciation of their arduous work and exemplary contribution to community service.
The winner for the Jose Rizal Award for Excellence in Virtue in Community Engagement was announced last July 14, 2022, and the award will be conferred during the graduation rites. The CSCE continues to tap more deserving MCL students as recipients of the award, a way to inspire others to give their time, volunteer and give back to their communities.