Partnerships and leadership
By any measure, 25 years is a major milestone. For the Galing Pook awards, its 25th anniversary honoring outstanding cities and municipalities in the country is a validation of the role of local governments in national development.
Now that local government units are in the limelight as a result of the move toward federalization that purports to give greater power and more resources to local governments, all the more do we need models of exemplary governance that is possible with committed leadership and creative use of limited resources.
At the most recent Galing Pook awarding ceremonies, four municipalities and six cities across the country were recognized for outstanding projects that responded to urgent needs in the community and therefore sought to uplift the people’s lives. The 10 awardees were among 19 finalists who deserved a closer look and personal visits from the board of judges and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Aside from the outstanding LGUs, the fourth Jesse Robredo Leadership Awardee was also recognized. He is Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi, Albay, who was cited for his “effective, empowering and ethical leadership.” Making his way up from barangay captain and now on his fifth term as mayor, Rosal said the award “humbles me” because Robredo “has been an inspiration for all of us.”
Fittingly enough, Robredo’s widow, Vice President Leni Robredo, was guest of honor at the Galing Pook awards night. In her address, she noted how “there is no other place where leadership is tested more than in local governments,” where “real-life problems” confront officials. “We are all grateful for what you do daily,” she added.
A first-time Galing Pook awardee was the town of Del Carmen in Surigao del Norte, which was cited for its mangrove management and social tourism program that transformed mangrove cutters into fisherfolk, and illegal fisherfolk into boat guides. Likewise receiving the award for the first time was Navotas City, cited for its early childhood education and health initiatives.
Among the repeat winners were the towns of Bindoy, Negros Occidental; Loboc, Bohol; and San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. The cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Naga, Tagum and Valenzuela, meanwhile, were recognized for their continuing innovation in environmental protection, cultural heritage preservation, literacy and education, health care and community safety and security.
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“Partnership” has long been a buzzword in development circles. Recently, one such partnership among a national government agency, a foreign government, nongovernment organizations and frontline workers at the local level was celebrated and honored.
“Weaving Successful Partnerships Towards a Healthier Philippines” was the theme of the culminating activity of a groundbreaking multiyear project of the Department of Health (DOH) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that created “service delivery networks” around the country.
The service delivery networks were created in each island grouping of the country (LuzonHealth, VisayasHealth and MindanaoHealth), involving DOH regional and local offices working with NGOs led by RTI International, EngenderHealth and Jhpiego.
With Health Secretary Francisco Duque and US Ambassador Sung Kim present, the morning’s speakers shared success stories of how better planning, stronger commitment and careful monitoring contributed to better results in the country’s overall health status, particularly in reducing maternal and infant mortality and increasing uptake of family planning services.
Part of the culminating activity was the ceremonial turnover of USAID Technical Products that both governments and NGOs could access online to better carry out their own health initiatives.
The service delivery networks, said Duque, have “achieved momentous results” in terms of reducing unmet need and giving more couples access to family planning services and commodities. Ambassador Kim stressed his government’s determination to “expand opportunities for women and children to lead healthy lives,” citing the “excellent results” of this truly novel and effective model of partnership.
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