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Galing Pook: Recognizing the Most Innovative Towns and Provinces in the Philippines

Local governments play a critical role in the everyday lives of their constituents. From maintaining roads and ensuring public safety to providing essential services, their work is often the backbone of community development. However, some local governments go above and beyond, creating innovative programs that set new standards for service delivery and governance.

To honor these outstanding initiatives, the Galing Pook Awards were launched on October 21, 1993. Since then, the Galing Pook Foundation has recognized 357 programs from 230 local government units (LGUs) for their excellence in local governance.

Leading Provinces

Galing Pook

With 11 Galing Pook awards, Bulacan is the most lauded province as of 2023. This recognition can be attributed to its innovative programs, such as “Lakas ng Kabataan sa Bulacan,” which focuses on capacity-building for unemployed adults, out-of-school youth, and high school graduates, improving their competitiveness and employability.

Galing Pook Executive Director Georgina Ann Hernandez Yang credits Bulacan’s success to the exceptional leadership of former Governor Obet Pagdanganan and Governor Josie Dela Cruz. Additionally, the stable management by former provincial administrator Ma. Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita, with a 17-year tenure, played a key role in sustaining these programs.

Following Bulacan, Bohol holds seven Galing Pook awards, while Nueva Vizcaya has six. Davao del Norte and Negros Occidental each boast five awards, and Negros Oriental has four.

Here is a complete list of provinces with the most Galing Pook awards from 1994 to 2023:

  • Bulacan – 11
  • Bohol – 7
  • Nueva Vizcaya – 6
  • Davao del Norte – 5
  • Negros Occidental – 5
  • Negros Oriental – 4
  • Albay, Bataan, Cotabato, Iloilo, Sarangani, South Cotabato, Zamboanga – 3 each
  • Guimaras, Misamis Oriental, Quezon Province – 2 each

Top Cities

Galing Pook

Among cities, Naga stands out with 11 Galing Pook awards. Most of these awards were received during the tenure of the late Mayor Jessie Robredo, who championed the “People Empowerment Program.” This program encourages public participation in local governance, allowing citizens to engage in procurement, budgeting, and policy-making.

Trailing Naga is Marikina City with nine awards, largely due to its pioneering “bicycle-friendly city” program. Quezon City follows with eight recognitions, one of which is for the “Intelligent, Resilient, and Integrated Systems for the Urban Population” (iRISE UP), a real-time monitoring system for weather, rain forecasts, flooding, heat index, and other environmental factors.

Here’s a list of cities with the most Galing Pook awards from 1994 to 2023:

  • Naga City – 11
  • Marikina City – 9
  • Quezon City – 8
  • Valenzuela City – 7
  • Cebu City – 6
  • San Carlos City, Negros Occidental; Cagayan de Oro City; Mandaluyong City; Muntinlupa City – 4 each
  • Bayawan City, Negros Oriental; Legazpi City, Albay; Makati City; Pasig City; San Fernando City, Pampanga; Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija; Tagum City, Davao del Norte – 3 each

Outstanding Municipalities

Galing Pook

Among municipalities, Malalag in Davao del Sur leads with four Galing Pook awards. The town was first recognized in 1995 for its development program aiming to transform Malalag into a “provincial agri-industrial center.”

Following Malalag, several municipalities have earned three Galing Pook awards, including Alimodian in Iloilo, Goa in Camarines Sur, Guagua in Pampanga, Irosin in Sorsogon, and Magsaysay in Davao del Sur.

Here’s a list of municipalities with the most Galing Pook awards from 1994 to 2023:

  • Malalag, Davao del Sur – 4
  • Alimodian, Iloilo; Goa, Camarines Sur; Guagua, Pampanga; Irosin, Sorsogon; Magsaysay, Davao del Sur – 3 each

Most Awarded Program Categories

Galing Pook

From 1994 to 2023, the Galing Pook Awards recognized a total of 66 programs focused on environmental sustainability and protection. These programs encompass a range of initiatives such as waste management, reforestation, and community-based environmental conservation efforts.

Beyond environmental programs, the Galing Pook Awards have also honored numerous other categories.

Here is the breakdown of the most awarded programs by category from 1994 to 2023:

  • Environment – 66 awards
  • Health, Nutrition, and Sanitation – 38 awards
  • Agriculture – 31 awards
  • Local Administration and Management – 22 awards
  • Welfare Services – 22 awards
  • Enterprise and Livelihood Development/Cooperative – 18 awards
  • Protective Services – 18 awards
  • Education – 15 awards
  • Infrastructure – 13 awards
  • Culture and Tourism – 12 awards
  • Housing Programs – 11 awards
  • Integrated Area Development – 11 awards
  • Service Delivery – 11 awards
  • Peace and Development – 10 awards
  • Inter-LGU Cooperation/Multi-sectoral Cooperation – 8 awards
  • Water Supply – 6 awards
  • Disaster Risk Reduction and Management – 5 awards
  • Legislative Services – 4 awards
  • Local Economic Development – 4 awards
  • Participatory Governance – 3 awards
  • Justice System – 2 awards
  • Youth – 2 awards

Galing Pook Awards: Qualification Criteria

Galing Pook

The Galing Pook Awards recognize outstanding programs and initiatives in local governance across the Philippines. To qualify for this prestigious award, programs must meet specific eligibility requirements and undergo rigorous evaluation based on established criteria. Here’s what it takes for a program to be considered for the Galing Pook Awards:

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the Galing Pook Awards, a program must meet the following criteria:

  1. Local Government Engagement: The program must involve or engage processes within a local government unit (LGU), whether a barangay, municipality, city, or province. The program may be initiated by a non-governmental organization (NGO), civil society organization (CSO), or another LGU, either independently or in partnership.
  2. Operational Duration: The program must have been in operation for at least two years before the deadline for submission. This requirement ensures that the program has had time to establish a track record and demonstrate its effectiveness.
  3. Verifiable Results: The program must have verifiable and significant results, providing evidence of its impact on the community. This could include metrics related to service delivery, community engagement, or other measurable outcomes.

Evaluation Criteria

Qualified programs are then evaluated based on a comprehensive set of criteria that consider multiple aspects of program success and impact. The following are the key evaluation criteria and their respective weights in the scoring process:

  1. Positive Results and Impact (25%): This criterion assesses the program’s overall impact on the community and its ability to achieve positive outcomes. This could include improvements in health, education, infrastructure, or other areas.
  2. Promotion of People’s Participation and Empowerment (20%): This evaluates how the program encourages community involvement and empowers local residents. Successful programs often include mechanisms for public input, participation in decision-making, and community-led initiatives.
  3. Innovation and Adaptation (25%): This criterion considers the program’s level of innovation and its ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Programs that introduce new ideas or methods are valued for their creativity and flexibility.
  4. Resilience (10%): This assesses the program’s ability to withstand challenges and continue delivering results despite obstacles. Resilient programs demonstrate durability and the capacity to recover from setbacks.
  5. Sustainability (10%): This criterion examines whether the program is designed to be sustainable over the long term. Sustainable programs have a clear plan for continued operation and funding.
  6. Efficiency of Program Service Delivery and Transferability (10%): This evaluates the program’s efficiency in delivering services and its potential for replication or adaptation in other contexts. Programs that can be transferred to other LGUs are valued for their broader impact.

Why Local Governments Matter

The Galing Pook Awards highlight the significant role of local governments in driving innovation and addressing key community issues. Yang noted that local governments often have the most direct impact on people’s lives and can be models for national leadership. They tackle issues like poverty, inequality, and climate resilience, while promoting economic development and disaster risk reduction.

These awards emphasize that excellence in local governance can emerge from any corner of the country, providing inspiration and guidance for others to follow.


Read Also: TAYO Awards Launches 21st Search for Outstanding Filipino Youth Groups


Written by Marjo Piedad

Traveler | Foodie | CONTENT EDITOR
📍Cebu, Philippines
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