Galing Pook Award Marker presented to Iloilo province

The Galing Pook Foundation officially turned over the Galing Pook Award Marker to the Iloilo provincial government on Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at SM City Iloilo’s event center.

By Mariela Angella Oladive

On February 28, the Galing Pook Foundation ceremoniously handed the distinguished Galing Pook Award Marker to the Iloilo provincial government during an event at SM City Iloilo’s main mall event center.

This award is a testament to Iloilo’s exceptional execution of the Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) initiative, highlighting a crucial advancement in sustainable sanitation practices within the region.

The ceremony, underscored by the Galing Pook Foundation Chairperson Mel Senen Sarmiento and SM Prime Holdings Consultant for Disaster Risk Resilience Alexander Pama, celebrated the collective commitment and effort from various contributing parties.

Notable attendees included Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Director Juan Jovian Ingeniero, DILG Provincial Director Carmelo Orbista, Provincial Administrator Raul Banias, Board Member June Mondejar, and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Maria Socorro Quiñon.

Sarmiento lauded Governor “Toto” Defensor’s steadfast leadership and the successful realization of the ZOD program, recognizing Iloilo as the first province in Western Visayas to secure the Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) Grade 1 Status.

In 2023, the province’s initiative, “Zero to Limpyo Iloilo: Movement for a Province-wide ZOD,” was honored as one of the 10 Galing Pook Awardees.

“What we need in government are passionate people. I firmly believe that if you are passionate, you innovate, and when you innovate, you excel; when you excel, you succeed, and that’s what Governor ‘Toto’ Defensor and the rest of the team in Iloilo Province showed to everyone,” Sarmiento said during the event.

He also extolled Iloilo’s triumph in securing the Galing Pook, comparing it to the “Oscar Awards” for local government and emphasizing its status as the “toughest” governance award for LGUs to attain.

Defensor Jr., in his address, expressed his appreciation for the accolade, describing the Galing Pook Award as emblematic of a broader vision for local governance.

“More than an award, the Galing Pook is a perspective; it is a way of looking at, treating, and assessing community engagement, innovation, impact, programs, and projects of local government units. It gives us the standards that we can use in leveling up our work, our other programs, and projects as well,” he noted.

The event also introduced the “Galing Pook @30 exhibit,” a celebration of thirty years of exemplary local governance initiatives.

In partnership with SM Prime and the DILG-Local Government Academy, the exhibition highlights the 10 Outstanding Local Governance Programs from the 2023 Galing Pook Awards and is available to the public until March 7 at SM City Iloilo’s lower ground floor.

Additionally, the 2023 Galing Pook Awards will be featured in screenings at SM City Cinemas, reflecting the company’s commitment to bolstering disaster resilience.