By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
For Vice President Leni Robredo, the nation’s future lies in local chief executives who “practice honesty, accountability, transparency, and strive for excellence” – especially in these “difficult times.”
Speaking at the 2018 “Galing Pook” Awarding and 4th Jesse Robredo Leadership Awarding Ceremony at the Novotel Manila in Cubao, Quezon City, Robredo lauded the local executives for their efforts to take care of their constituents. “There is no place on earth where leadership is tested more intensely — and shines more powerfully — than in local government units,” she said.
Robredo commended Governors, Mayors, Barangay Captains, and other local government workers who “face more real-world problems” compared to officials in the national government. “The nation should be more grateful for all that you do, every single day,” she added.
Robredo noted that the nation’s future lies in local chief executives “who practice honesty, accountability, transparency, and strive for excellence” in everything that they do. “In my opinion, building provinces, cities, towns, and barangays that are ‘magagaling na mga pook’ is the one thing that will transform our nation into a first world country,” she said.
HOPE IN DIFFICULT TIMES
The “Galing Pook” Awards, Robredo said, is an “innovation that will bring our nation to that state faster.” Since it provides inspiration for “cutting-edge governance reforms that our people truly need,” she lauded all the awardees for representing “that hope in these difficult times.”
“It is my prayer that you will keep on doing what you do [and] that you will keep on breaking barriers and challenging the status quo,” Robredo told the awardees. She also expressed hope that the local leaders will “continue to reject mediocrity—not for the sake of awards—but to make a real difference in the lives of the last, the least, and the lost.”
Robredo also underscored the importance of “character and leadership at the top” since “all the bright strategies in the world will not work without brave, audacious, and honest leaders.”
The VP the conferred the 4th Jesse Robredo Leadership Award Mayor Noel Rosal, a five-term mayor of Legazpi City, Albay for his “for effective, empowering and ethical leadership of a local government executive.”
“The existence of a new breed of servant leaders is proof that in our city, people are inspired to make even the best, better,” Robredo said – noting that this is her late husband’s, Jesse Robredo, “best legacy.”
Robredo noted that this year’s gathering is not just about recognizing the efforts of local leaders but is also “our brave response to the call of the times.” She hopes that through the event, people will be reminded that “there are still men and women disrupting the political scene by doing extraordinary things for our people, quietly, without much fanfare.”
“It may be easier to stay on the sidelines during tumultuous times such as the times we face today,” Robredo said. “But history is not made by those who choose to be always on the safe side… [it] is made by those who show defiant hope and fiercely fight against the tide,” she added.
The first-time winners of the “Galing Pook” 2018 award are the municipality of Del Carmen in Siargao Islands, Surigao del Norte – the home of the second largest mangrove forest in Mindanao and was recognized for its social tourism program – and Navotas City for implementing various early childhood education and health initiative.
The “repeat winners” this year are the municipalities of Bindoy, Negros Oriental; Loboc, Bohol; and San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. Meanwhile, Cagayan de Oro City, Iloilo City, Naga City, Tagum City, and Valenzuela City completed the top ten LGUs recognized for outstanding local governance programs.
The ten awardees are: Bindoy, Negros Oriental — Ridge to Reef (R2R) Program; Cagayan de Oro City— “No Vote, Ibot” No More: Ending the Political Bondage in Resettlement Areas by Providing Security of Tenure; Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte — Siargao It Up! Mangrove Management and Social Tourism Program; Iloilo City — Iloilo-Batiano River Development Project; Loboc, Bohol— Reviving the Musical Tradition and Heritage by Empowering People through the Loboc Music Program; Naga City— Barangay eSkwela and Barangay Literacy Worker Program; Navotas City— ACHIEVE: Accessible, Holistic and Inclusive Education; San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte— Preserving Local Cultural Heritage; Tagum City, Davao del Norte — Tagumpay Works Program and Valenzuela City — Tayo Na Mapayapang Valenzuela: Tuloy-tuloy ang Asenso! The Valenzuela City Comprehensive Safety and Security Program.
As she congratulates the finalists and awardees, Robredo also urged them to “give each other license to copy, adapt, and improve.” She also expressed hope that mentoring will become a “by-product of the excellence” and may everyone “find the strength to change our country by serving our people to the best of our abilities.”
Galing Pook Foundation is a non-stock, non-profit organization that recognizes innovation and excellence in local governance through the “Galing Pook Awards” since 1993. In 2012, it started to include the recognition of local government leaders through the Jesse Robredo Leadership Award.