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January 20, 2009 / yolynne

Zambo village leads Gawad Pook awardees

Good News like this starts my day right. Zamboanga is bombarded daily with negative news that I think I grew accustomed to it already.  I do hope the different media outfits will put good news in the front page and not just put them always at the last.

I got this from Inquirer.net

The Good News

Zambo village leads Gawad Pook awardees

January 20, 2009 04:42:00
Edson C. Tandoc Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—It used to be a poor, crowded and dirty area until village leaders of Sanito in Ipil, Zamboanga-Sibugay, drafted their own barangay government code four years ago, rewriting their future and showing how a small community can be great.

This year, the village of 8,000 people joins some of the richest cities in the country as one of the 10 awardees of the Gawad Galing Pook, a citation from a non-government foundation which recognizes outstanding local government projects in the country.

Sanito managed to build its own health station and barangay hall, an agri-ecotourism park and a barangay market using its own revenues generated after it passed its own government code.

The makeover was a far cry from the village it once was, teeming with informal dwellers, where crime used to be rampant and where garbage was not regularly collected.

“The barangay code specified its own sources of income and from that it was able to finance many projects, unlike other barangays which, most of the time, depend on their municipal or provincial governments,” Eddie Dorotan, executive director of the Gawad Galing Pook Foundation, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Monday.

Refuge of evacuees

Sanito was once the refuge of poor residents fleeing nearby villages during the height of the Abu Sayyaf attacks about a decade ago, the foundation said.

In 2004, barangay officials introduced the “Sanito Barangay Government Code” which mandated fees for basic services, like water and public works, as well as for permit fees. It also penalized vagrancy and improved garbage disposal.

“The barangay code made proactive citizens out of the residents,” the foundation said in a statement.

Other winners

The foundation also hopes that through the Galing Pook Award, other local government units can find excellent practices to emulate.

The other winning projects this year, selected from 138 entries, are:

• Biyaya A Luluguran At Sisikapan (BALAS) program in Pampanga, which turned once corruption-laden quarrying sites into sources of revenue and pride for residents.

From an average of only P22.5 million a year in quarry tax collections, revenues increased to P111.1 million in the first half of 2008 alone, benefiting 10 towns and barangays in the province and stamping out illegal quarrying through a direct hotline to the governor’s office.

• Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) in Albay, which carried out a disaster-management program identifying disaster-prone communities, improving disaster preparedness and planning. Its results recommend relocating 10,076 families in eight resettlement sites and the construction of a new airport and a road network.

• Allah Valley Landscape Development Alliance, which brings together two governors, eight mayors and several other government officials who are faced with P5 million in losses every year from rice lands damaged by flood and soil erosion. The project institutionalized watershed management programs in the river between Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato.

• Public Governance System in San Fernando City, Pampanga, an idea adopted from the Balance Scorecard system developed at the Harvard University. The system uses scorecards to monitor and track the performance of local officials in achieving community goals.

• Children First Program of the Cotabato province, which seeks to “promote friendship” among young Muslims and Christians.

• Sustainable City Project in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, which created a 20-year master development plan to transform its sugar-based economy into a “more ecologically oriented commerce and industry.” For instance, it built an energy-efficient city hall without air conditioners.

• Rehabilitation of the Payatas dump, which gives Quezon City its third Galing Pook Award. The city is recognized for its “pioneering and innovative programs to ensure not only the continued safe operation of the site, but also its successful conversion into a controlled waste disposal facility.” The biogas emitted by the dump has also been converted into electricity to power streetlights.

• Family Townhomes Project in Taguig City, which aims to build 20,000 houses for homeless families by 2020. Since 2006, it has completed 322 units in two barangays.

• General Services Office Warehouse of Marikina City, which centralized its supply management, giving the city about P2.4 million in savings in labor costs. This citation elevates Marikina City into the Galing Pook Award for Continuing Excellence (Ace) for winning the award more than thrice.

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