Measuring the Economic Contribution Ofvolunteer Work: The Philippine Experience
Romulo A. Virola, Christopher M. Reyes
National Statistical Coordination Board, Office of the Secretary General, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Floors, 403 Midland Buendia Building Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City 1200 Philippines

Volunteerism is a worldwide phenomenon with the scale of voluntary work varying from country to country implying that volunteerism could be culture-bound. Recognizing the value of volunteer work is an important requisite towards harnessing successfully volunteerism as a renewable economic resource for development and the creation of social capital and social cohesiveness.

In the Philippines, volunteerism has had a long history and there is a wide network of civic engagements. Formal recognition of volunteer work began as early as 1964 with creation of the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency. At the global level, the UN General Assembly passed several resolutions on volunteer service, notably A/RES/40/212 adopted on 17 December 1985 inviting governments to take measures to heighten awareness of the important contribution of volunteer service. The United Nations Volunteers cited 2011 as the 10th Year Anniversary of International Year of Volunteers recognizing the services rendered by various volunteers for peace and development, and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

But to be able to recognize the full value of volunteerism, statistics are needed. Toward this end, a growing number of government statistical agencies and international organizations have supported efforts to measure the contribution of volunteer work. Out of these efforts, the UN Statistics Division came up with a Handbook on Non Profit Institution in the System of the National Accounts. In addition, the International Labour Organization released the ILO Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work. In the Philippines, the National Statistical Coordination Board, the highest policy making body on statistical matters in the country is spearheading the work on the inclusion of volunteer work in the Philippine System of National Accounts in the context of a Satellite Account as articulated in the 1993/2008 SNA.

This paper presents the pioneering efforts and lessons learned in the formulation of a conceptual and statistical framework for the measurement of the contribution of volunteer work in the Philippines. From a developing country perspective, the pilot investigation and operationalization of the measurement of volunteer work in the Philippine Statistical System offers distinct experiences and insights that can enrich the international efforts to develop valuation methodologies in quantifying the economic contribution of volunteer work. It also presents some institutional framework and practical approaches on capturing information on volunteer work in the statistical system of a developing country. Lastly, it describes some issues and challenges encountered and proposes a way forward.

Key Words: volunteer work, non-profit institutions, contribution / economic value, Philippine Statistical System

Bibliography: Virola, RA, Ilarina, VR, Reyes, CM, & Buenaventura, CR. (2010). Volunteerism in the Philippines: Dead or Alive? On Measuring the Economic Contribution of Volunteer Work. Paper presented during the 11th National Convention on Statistics, Philippines. 4 – 5 of October 2010.