By LaLaine M. Jimenea

PALOMPON DOES it again! For the second time, the Municipality of Palompon was named “Galing Pook” awardee, and the only LGU in the Visayas to get the citation for 2017. The town was awarded for its “Integrated Community-Based Eco-Tourism and Coastal Resource Management”.

Twenty years ago, Palompon was also a Galing Pook awardee for its “Ecological Amelioration for Sustainable Development”. The LGU garnered the two awards under the leadership of Mayor Ramon Oñate. This year, Mayor Oñate received the award from former Marikina mayor and Galing Pook Foundation chairperson Lourdes Fernando, accompanied by Vice-Mayor Georgina L. Arevalo, environmental off icer Raoul T. Bacalla, tourism officer Cleofe Rivera and municipal planning and development officer Isagani Jaena.

This is Palompon’s third award this year. Just last week, the town was cited as grand winner of the Sports Tourism category of the PEARL Awards by the Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines (ATOP). Palompon is also a Hall of Farmer of the PEARL Awards as the Most Tourism-Oriented LGUMunicipality category. Then, last March 17, 2017, the LGU was cited as 1st runner-up of the Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan (MMK) awards last March 7, 2017, bringing home with them not only a trophy but a prize worth P 8-million of coastal projects. Ten LGUs in the country were recognized for their innovative practices in local governance on Thursday, October 12.

Mayor Oñate said his town has been reaping awards because the people were cooperative with his programs. Without the people’s cooperation, he said, the LGU could not have done it. The Galing Pook Award this year is for the town’s eco-tourism program which is managed by a People’s Organization, the Palompon Eco-Tourism Council. They formulated the policies and programs for an effective tourism development that does not sacrifice the environment, but also equitably spreads the benefits of tourism with the community. The other LGUs that made it to the Top Ten Galing Pook 2017 Awards are (Luzon) Angono, Rizal; Pasig City; San Felipe, Zambales; San Luis, Aurora; San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte; Valenzuela City; (Mindanao) Cagayan de Oro City; Davao del Norte; and General Santos City. The other finalists are Iloilo Province; Lamitan City, Basilan; Naga City; Panglao, Bohol; Pasig City; Pilar, Bohol; San Joaquin, Iloilo; Tagum City, Davao del Norte; and, Vigan City. Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, chair of the Senate committee on local government, was the keynote speaker during the awarding ceremony. The annual Galing Pook Awards was launched in 1993 and has recognized hundreds of LGU programs that serve as models of good governance for other communities to adopt. “These awardees become very important advocates in inspiring other local governments to introduce innovative practices and provide a fertile environment for the replication of successful reforms,” the foundation says in its website. The winners are evaluated based on “positive results and impact, promotion of people’s participation and empowerment, innovation, transferability and sustainability, and efficiency of program service delivery.”



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