Galing Pook Activities: February 2024 Recap
March 3, 2024
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Unlocking Inclusive Governance:
Galing Pook participates at the PH Launch of the 2024 Regional Human Development Report for Asia and the Pacific

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At the recent Philippine Launch of the 2024 Regional Human Development Report for Asia and the Pacific, held at the Diosdado Macapagal Auditorium, School of Economics, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, Former SILG and Galing Pook Chairperson Mel Senen Sarmiento offered invaluable insights alongside other esteemed speakers and panelists including Galing Pook members Dean Randy Tuano, Dr. Alex Brillantes and Dr. Emma Porio. The event facilitated an exploration of collaborative approaches in engaging with local government units (LGUs), reinforcing the significance of initiatives aimed at fostering constructive relationships and navigating governance complexities effectively.

In his address, Chairperson Mel underscored the importance of addressing not only technical matters but also adaptive challenges on the horizon. He reiterated the constitutional mandate for participatory governance, emphasizing its pivotal role in achieving inclusive development. Practical governance insights were shared, highlighting the imperative of community engagement and inclusivity.

Download the Regional Human Development Report

A central theme of the discussions was the call for LGUs to take proactive steps in creating environments conducive to inclusive governance. Their pivotal role as drivers of development was emphasized, alongside encouragement to prioritize initiatives promoting inclusivity and community involvement.

Organized by the UNDP Philippines in partnership with the Philippine Human Development Network, the forum provided a valuable platform for constructive dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders. It underscored the collective responsibility in advancing regional human development goals and addressing pressing societal issues.

Capturing Collaboration:
Insights from the Stakeholders' Consultation for the World Bank's Philippines Systematic Country Diagnostic Update

Galing Pook Foundation, the World Bank, and De La Salle Institute of Governance co-organized a pivotal stakeholders' consultation. Bringing together representatives from local government units (LGUs), academia, and civil society organizations (CSOs), the event aimed to delve into the insights of the Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) Report. Ralph van Doorn, World Bank Senior Economist in the Philippines, presented the report, offering a comprehensive analysis of the country's socio-economic landscape.

Galing Pook Trustee, Dr. Ador Torneo took the floor to address the critical role of data-driven governance in aligning the priorities of both national and local governments. His insights emphasized the importance of evidence-based decision-making in fostering effective governance strategies.

Facilitating the discussion, Executive Director Georgina Hernandez-Yang emphasized the necessity of strengthening collaboration to realize the goals of devolution. She underscored the importance of expanding spaces for active citizenship in governance processes, highlighting the potential for meaningful engagement from diverse stakeholders.

A highlight of the consultation was the sharing of local governance innovations by Galing Pook Awardees. Representing Barangay Graceville in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan; Barangay Taloot in Tanay, Rizal; and Alabat in Quezon, these exemplary communities showcased initiatives aligned with thematic priorities on inclusive growth and jobs, human capital development, and building resilience.

The event served as a platform for constructive dialogue and knowledge-sharing among stakeholders, emphasizing the collective effort required to address complex challenges and drive sustainable development at both local and national levels.

Building BRIDGES:
BARMM Local Government Fellowship Strengthens Inter-LGU and Regional Collaboration

Download BRIDGE in BARMM Booklet
The Galing Pook Foundation, in collaboration with The Asia Foundation and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and with support from the UK Government, successfully convened government leaders from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) on February 6-7, 2024, at the Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas, Pasig City.

In his opening message, Galing Pook Chairperson Mel Sarmiento emphasized the significance of the collaborative efforts in BARMM, saying, “The work that we are collaboratively pursuing in BARMM is very relevant and much needed as we are gradually seeing the gains from the Peace Agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the MILF. But at the same time, we also see the many opportunities that still need to be developed to ensure resilient and sustainable peace in the Bangsamoro Region.”

Over the course of two days, the fellowship activity facilitated constructive dialogue among participants to deepen inter-LGU collaboration, strengthen bonds between local and regional government officials, promote best practices, and exchange insights on adaptive leadership. This program served as a pivotal platform for sharing experiences and exploring avenues for partnership to further enhance the region's social and economic development landscape.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos, Jr welcomed the BARMM LGUs through a fellowship dinner where he committed the support of the national government in driving peace and development in the region. Secretary Abalos also commended the initiatives of the mayors and their teams, and recognized the fellowship as a valuable platform for them to share their governance innovations to a larger audience.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) shared its localized normalization initiative in BARMM which echoed the importance of social cohesion and resilience in addressing conflict. "OPAPRU will continue to work with partners in addressing all drivers of conflict, especially with the private sector," remarked Undersecretary Isidro Purisima, "The roadmap for peace process will be owned by the LGUs."
Watch ANC interview of Mayor Zohria Bansil-Guro

Representatives from various provinces within the region showcased their respective initiatives aimed at fostering social cohesion, resilience, and economic prosperity. Participating provinces included Maguindanao del Norte (Parang, Matanog, Datu Blah Sinsuat), Maguindanao del Sur (Datu Anggal Midtimbang and Datu Hoffer), Lanao del Sur (Taraka, Piagapo, Butig, Pagayawan, and Marawi City), Basilan (Maluso, Lamitan City, and Hadji Muhtamad), Sulu (Lugus and Panglima Estino), and Tawi-Tawi (Simunul and Sibutu). Through presentations and interactive sessions, mayors and their teams emphasized the significance of service delivery, local economic development, and community engagement as pillars of progress.

The presentations highlighted innovative approaches to community development and governance. Notable initiatives included WOW (Women of War) Matanog's economic empowerment program for women in Maguindanao del Norte, Parang's efforts towards becoming the future BARMM capital through improvements in social services and infrastructure, and Datu Blah Sinsuat's commitment to enhancing disaster resilience through capacity development.

In Lanao del Sur, Taraka showcased their adaptive community gardening initiative, while Piagapo emphasized the adoption of a unified madaris curriculum for Muslim education. Meanwhile, island municipalities of Lugus, Panglima Estino, Simunul and Sibutu from the provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi demonstrated community-based tourism initiatives focusing on culture and heritage preservation. Hadji Muhtamad in Basilan showcased their rich aquamarine resources through a sustainable livelihood initiative for their fisherfolk.

Agriculture Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan underscored the pivotal role of these initiatives in driving positive change, highlighting that the collaborative efforts of the LGUs exemplify the spirit of progress and unity that will propel the BARMM region towards a brighter future.

Meanwhile, Tourism Undersecretary Myra Paz Valderrosa-Abubakar applauded the efforts of the LGUs, stating, "I have noticed that a good number of projects are related to tourism, and I’m happy to share that the Department has programs you may take part in, like our Filipino Brand of Service Excellence Training Program, Muslim-Friendly Accommodation/Establishment Recognition program, and our exhaustive list of modules on Tourism Standards, the backbone of our mandate at the Department of Tourism."

Following the presentations, partners from the private sector expressed keen interest in exploring collaborative opportunities and extending support to the showcased initiatives. The networking session provided a valuable platform for further dialogue and potential partnerships, highlighting the collective resolve to propel the BARMM towards prosperity.

This initiative is part of the BRIDGE program, which stands for Building Resilience and Inclusion through Democratic Governance and Engagements in the Bangsamoro.

Galing Pook, SM Prime, and DILG-LGA Strengthens Promotion of 2023 Galing Pook Awardees
Galing Pook @ 30 exhibit Debuts
at SM North

The celebration marking the 30-year milestone of the Galing Pook Awards commenced with an enriching exhibit showcasing the remarkable achievements of the 2023 Galing Pook Awardees. Held from February 20-24, 2024, at The Annex, SM North in Quezon City, the event was a testament to three decades of excellence in local governance.

In the company of our esteemed partners, including the DILG-Local Government Academy and SM Prime, we embarked on this journey of recognition and appreciation. Their steadfast support has been pivotal in championing innovative and adaptive local governance programs nationwide.

At the forefront of the event, SM Supermalls Vice President, Liza Silerio, set an inspiring tone, paving the way for meaningful discussions and reflections. We were honored to have Galing Pook Chairperson, Mel Sarmiento, grace us with his wisdom, emphasizing the paramount importance of innovation in driving local governance forward.

DILG Undersecretary, Marlo Iringan, delivered a compelling address on behalf of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, highlighting the transformative impact of innovative governance on our communities.

Representing the esteemed 2023 Galing Pook Awardees, Quezon City Mayor, Joy Belmonte, exemplified dedication and ingenuity, serving as a beacon of hope for communities nationwide.

This celebration not only commemorated past achievements but also inspired us to continue our journey towards building stronger, more resilient communities through effective local governance initiatives.

Promoting Good Governance:
Galing Pook @ 30 Exhibit
Unveiled at SM City Iloilo

Galing Pook Foundation, in collaboration with SM Prime DILG Philippines- Local Government Academy brought the Galing Pook @ 30 Exhibit to SM City Iloilo.

Opening earlier today, the exhibit features highlights from 30 years of the Galing Pook Awards and the 2023 Galing Pook Awardees, with a special focus on Iloilo Provincial Health Office's Zero to Limpyo Iloilo: Movement for a Province-wide ZOD.

Iloilo Provincial Administrator Dr. Raul Banias welcomed the guests, and thanked the Iloilo Provincial Health Office for spearheading their Galing Pook awarded initiative.

VAdm. Alexander Pama (ret.), SM Supermalls Consultant for Disaster Risk Resilience, delivered a message on behalf of SM Prime Chairperson of the Executive Committee Mr. Hans Sy and SM Prime President Mr. Jeffrey C. Lim. He shared SM Prime’s commitment to promoting the Galing Pook Awardees and working with Galing Pook in recognizing LGUs.

Watch it here

GPF Chairperson Mel Senen Sarmiento commended the achievement of Iloilo Province and thanked SM Prime Holdings, Inc for giving Galing Pook the space and opportunity to promote its awardees, bringing them to a wider audience and hoping to inspire more people.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Jr. thanked Galing Pook and its partners for the recognition and shared that more than the recognition, Galing Pook gives them a standard of governance to follow in all provincial government programs. He said good governance is the standard, and not only an objective.

DILG Western Visayas Regional Director Juan Jovian Ingeniero congratulated Iloilo Province for the Galing Pook recognition. He added that they have a similar competition between LGUs in the Region called the EXCELL Awards to elevate the standard of service of LGUs in the region, and hoped that more LGUs from the region will join and be recognized by Galing Pook.

The Galing Pook Marker of Iloilo Province was then officially unveiled and turned over to the Iloilo Provincial Government. Afterwards, the Galing Pook @ 30 Exhibit was officially opened.

Galing Pook Visits Del Carmen Surigao del Norte,
 Addressing Hunger Together:
Del Carmen's Participatory Food Security and Nutrition Plan

In a significant step towards addressing hunger and malnutrition challenges, Galing Pook mentor Gerry Bulatao recently visited the Municipality of Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte, to conduct a mentoring session and community visits aimed at strengthening collaboration between the local government unit (LGU) and civil society organizations (CSOs).

At the heart of the engagement was Del Carmen's unveiling of its participatory Food Security Nutrition (FSN) plan, an initiative designed to integrate strategies that not only address immediate nutritional needs but also enhance the income and savings of agri-fisheries organizations. Supported by the LGU's commitment to social and environmental protection, this plan shows Del Carmen's dedication to holistic and sustainable development.

Del Carmen's involvement in the Strengthening Participation and Accountability Through Civil Society Organizations and Engagement with Subnational and National Government (SPACES) Project further underscores their commitment to collaborative governance. With support from Australia in The Philippines and key partnerships with Oxfam Pilipinas, AGREA, and The Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA), the project endeavors to foster synergistic relationships between LGUs and CSOs, empowering communities to address local challenges effectively.

Innovative Initiatives Unveiled:
SPACES Mentoring Visit in Borongan and Salcedo Eastern Samar

Exciting developments during the SPACES mentoring visit led by Former DILG Undersecretary Mavs Sacendoncillo to Borongan and Salcedo, Eastern Samar!

In Borongan, fruitful discussions with the Mayor, LGU staff, and civil society leaders highlighted the pressing issue of malnourished children, prompting plans for a comprehensive menu of intervention programs, including the innovative 'Adopt a Family' initiative and integration with the Dukwag Agriculture Program.

Meanwhile, in Salcedo, a collaborative effort between LGU Salcedo and Eastern Samar State University is in the pipeline to locally produce coconut juiced called, “coco-cola.” Additionally, a partnership to establish a Food Security Nutrition Learning Management Center aims to directly benefit high-malnourished barangays, prioritizing their training and empowerment.

During the learning sessions, the importance of fostering stronger connections between LGUs and CSOs was emphasised to ensure the success of proposed programs and initiatives under the FSN Banner Initiative Program.

SPACES goes to Irosin, Sorsogon:
Stronger LGU and CSO partnerships, Key to Addressing Hunger and Malnutrition

Twenty-eight esteemed representatives from government and civil society organizations (CSOs) from the municipalities of Hilongos and Baybay City in Leyte, alongside their counterparts from the Municipality of Salcedo in Eastern Samar, embarked on a learning visit to the Municipality of Irosin, Sorsogon.

As part of the SPACES project, the activity aims to glean insights and best practices from two flagship initiatives spearheaded by the Municipality of Irosin: the Integrated Management of Agri-Fishery Production and Market for the Development of Irosin (IMAProMDI),a component of Collabdev, and the Luntian at Masaganang Irosin (LuMI) project.

We thank the hospitality of Mayor Alfredo "Pidoy" Cielo, Jr., for welcoming all the participants. The courtesy visit served as a platform for constructive dialogue and the exchange of ideas aimed at fostering synergies and catalyzing progress.

The learning visit was enriched further by the contributions of LGU Irosin’s CSO partners, eloquently represented by Araw Chavez, who provided invaluable insights into the participatory processes underlying the formulation of Irosin's Development Agenda. Through collaborative deliberations, a profound understanding of the multifaceted dimensions of sustainable development was cultivated, underscoring the indispensable role of community-driven initiatives in effecting meaningful change.

Exploratory excursions to key project sites, including the Barangay Tinampo Communal Garden, INACT Complex, and Irosin Integrated Nursery, offered firsthand encounters with innovative agricultural practices and community-based conservation efforts. Interactions with local stakeholders and community leaders facilitated an exchange of perspectives and knowledge, enriching the collective understanding of grassroots dynamics and local resilience strategies.

Through a series of insightful presentations and interactive sessions, participants gained a comprehensive understanding of diverse approaches to addressing pressing socio-economic challenges, thereby fostering a spirit of mutual learning and collaboration.

SPACES goes to Tabaco City, Albay:
Stronger LGU and CSO partnerships, Key to Addressing Hunger and Malnutrition

After the visit of Hilongos, Baybay and Salcedo SPACES teams to Irosin, they visited Tabaco City, Albay to learn about the F1K++ Nutri Center, which aims to locally produce complementary foods and snacks from locally sourced agricultural products including monggo, rice and malunggay. It addresses the issue of malnutrition while enhancing food security through the provision of markets for farmers. 

Representatives from the participating LGUs met with Tabaco Mayor Krisel Lagman - Luistro along with her team for a briefing on their food security nutrition initiatives. The passage of an Executive Order and Sangguniang Bayan Resolutions to institutionalize the health and nutrition programs were emphasized during the orientation as a means to ensure the continuous financing for the F1K++ Nutri Center. The benefits of the Nutri Center for all vulnerable populations was also mentioned because it does not only cater to 0 to 59 months old infants and children but also to persons with disabilities and senior citizens. The role of civil society in the operations and maintenance of the Center was also presented as a key feature that the SPACES project introduced to the Tabaco LGU.

After the discussions among the LGUs, they proceeded to the different site visits. They observed the operations of the Nutri Center for the production of buns that are enriched with vitamins, the feeding center at Barangay Buang, the Demo Farm at San Vicente, the Materials Recovery Facility of Tabaco City and the Hiraya Manawari Garden for solo parents. At the end of a whole day of productive visits and insightful discussions, the SPACES participants gathered with the Tabaco LGU team who graciously hosted a fellowship and solidarity dinner.

Preparation for the 'Walang Gutom Awards' Continues:
GPF, DSWD to Recognize Local Government Initiatives with Sustainable Livelihood Grants in Hunger Alleviation Efforts

Watch the Walang Gutom Awards Video

The Galing Pook Foundation recently met with Secretary Rex Gatchalian of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, a distinguished former Galing Pook Awardee, to shape the inaugural screening committee for the upcoming Walang Gutom Awards' selection process. The screening committee is led by DSWD Undersecretary Eduardo Punay and Assistant Secretary Baldr Bringas, and its members include Dr. Edna Co, Dr. Helen Dayo, Mon Derige, Former Mayor Fernando Mesa, Dr. Emma Porio, Dan Songco, Gisela Tiongson, and Former Mayor Alfredo Valdez.

The Walang Gutom Awards is gearing up to recognize Local Government Programs combating hunger by granting Sustainable Livelihood Grants. As of the closing of the call for applications last February 29, a total of 101 LGU program applications were received.The DSWD and GPF will award 10 LGUs nationwide with each winning LGU receiving PHP2 million that they can use to extend the program and their beneficiaries. Through the Walang Gutom Awards, the DSWD and the GPF aim to recognize and showcase the achievements of LGUs and amplify their success stories in ending involuntary hunger and malnutrition among Filipinos, especially children.

To More Youth in Governance:
UST PolSci Students Engage with GPF
on Good Governance Advocacy

The University of Santo Tomas (UST) hosted a vibrant discussion with AB Political Science students, featuring prominent figures in the realm of local governance.

Galing Pook Foundation Chairperson, Mel Senen Sarmiento, alongside former Mayor Flora Villarosa of Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte, and Alfred Opiz Dicto of the Youth Work Research and Training Center, took center stage to impart their insights and experiences on the intricacies of local governance. Emphasizing the pivotal role of youth in demanding accountability and transparency from leaders, the speakers underscored the significance of active civic engagement in shaping the future of governance.

The event served as a platform for robust dialogue and meaningful interaction, as students had the opportunity to glean wisdom from seasoned practitioners and advocates of good governance. Discussions ranged from practical challenges to innovative solutions, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted landscape of local governance.

Gratitude was extended to the UST Department of Political Science, The Political Science Forum, and UST Political Science interns for their invaluable contribution in organizing the event and providing a conducive environment for the exchange of ideas. Through collaborative efforts like these, the Galing Pook Foundation continues to advance its advocacy for good local governance, empowering the youth to become catalysts for positive change in their communities.

Building Blocks of Good Governance
Galing Pook Joins the Discussion at the Aguhon Leadership Summit 2024

At the forefront of advocacy for effective governance, Galing Pook's Executive Director Georgina Hernandez-Yang graced the stage at the Aguhon Leadership Summit 2024. Themed "Building Blocks of Good Governance," the summit provided a vital platform for leaders and changemakers to delve into the core principles of governance excellence.

Georgina emphasized the indispensable role of community participation in governance. "Governance cannot function without the participation of the community," she remarked, highlighting the essence of inclusive decision-making processes in driving sustainable development.

Joined by Ms. Nico Bambao and Mr. Emil Tapnio, the panelists shared enlightening perspectives and real-world experiences, illuminating the transformative power of concepts like participation and engagement.

To Stronger Partnerships:
Galing Pook Foundation Participates in Association of Foundation and Collaboration Group's Learning Session on CSO-LGU Engagement 

Galing Pook Executive Director Georgina Hernandez-Yang along with Galing Pook Member and Zuellig Family Foundation President Austere Panadero served as panelists at the recent Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and Local Government Units (LGUs) engagement learning session organized by Association of Foundations (AF) and the CSO Collab Group last February 27, 2024 The Hub in Quezon City.

Over 60 CSO representatives attended the event and over 170 representatives participated via Zoom. During the discussions she emphasized the critical role of impactful partnerships in driving sustainable community development and highlighted the importance of fostering trust and cooperation between CSOs and LGUs for long-term success.

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