GP Blog

Lessons from Galing Pook

By Dok. Eddie Dorotan

In these times of uncertainties brought about by the pandemic Covid19, calamities, violence, accelerations in technology and climate change and led by disruptive leaders, what can Galing Pook offer as lessons in governance for the 21st Century? 


Galing Pook has been promoting innovations and excellence in local governance for the past 25 years by recognizing outstanding local governance programs. It has added the Jesse Robredo Leadership award as well as the citizenship awards to complete the supply and demand side of governance. We have replicated best practices as well as run learning programs such as the recent adaptive and innovative leadership programs for the local chief executives, local government unit staff, civil society and the private sector.

Our annual Galing Pook Governance Fair showcasing best practices on specific themes (local economic development, citizenship, youth and children welfare, global governance networks, renewable energy) has mobilized different stakeholders (national government agencies, LGUs, international bodies, funders, private sector) to share innovations and challenges in local governance.

We also conducted trainings for LGUs. Pioneering is the Adaptive and Innovative Leadership Course which is a collaborative learning journey for the LGU participants.

But have we made a dent on the development on the theory and practice of good governance? Are our products (best practices, trainings) being utilized to improve the lives of people and communities?

Are the concepts of good governance – as effective, efficient empowering and ethical – still relevant?

Do we need to adapt and innovate to the changing times?

How do we teach the young, the millennials (Gen Y) and the centennials (Gen Z, iGen) and now the Gen C (C for Covid) good governance?

I am sharing the following simple lessons from Galing Pook so that the current and next generations can continue fighting for the promotion of excellence and innovations in local governance.

Lesson 1: What is Most Simple is Most Beautiful!

By Dok. Eddie Dorotan

One intervention, multiple effects.

Mayor Roberto (Nonoy) Agcaoili, a lawyer, introduced the plant now pay later scheme in his push for cultivating mung beans (munggo, vigna radiata) in between rice seasons in San Mateo, Isabela.

The original idea was only to re-fertilize with the nitrogen fixing mung bean the acidic soil caused by too much fertilizer inputs over the years.

 And the idea produced more results:

  • Additional income to farmers from mung bean to the tune of around 30k/hectare, which is much better than the income from rice farming per hectare
  • Mung bean is a poor man’s protein. So it is used as ingredient for the feeding program (ex Monrico or mung bean, rice and corn) that resulted in lesser malnutrition rates
  • The market in San Mateo is full of mung bean-based processed food to the delight of consumers: butchi, pizza mungo, mungo pao, pansit mungo, hopia mungo, lumpia munggo, and even coffee mungo! “Sa kape Mungo, lulusog ka na, tatalino pa!”

San Mateo is now the mung bean (mungo) capital of the country!

Lesson 2: Together, We Can Do Better!

By Dok. Eddie Dorotan

When you lack the resources to construct road to your villages/barangays, what do you do?

Pool resources from neighboring local governments units!

That is exactly what the alliance of Pigcawayan, Almada, Libungan, Midsayap, Aleosan and Pikit in the province of North Cotabato did.

With each local government unit sharing equipments and labor, the alliance was able to construct more kilometers of farm to market roads at lower cost and at faster pace.

And the cooperation on road building continued to other sectoral concerns: health, environment and livelihood.

The original mayors of the PALMA alliance consisted of Mayor Herminio Roquero of Pigcawayan, Mayor Ernesto Concepcion of Alamada, Mayor Ronaldo Pader of Libungan, Mayor Arana of Midsayap, Mayor Vicente Sorupia of Aleosan They were ably supported by then Governor Jesus Sacdalan and coordinated by Project manager Orly Maraingan.

Watch the video here:

Lesson 3: Water Levy is OK!

By Dok. Eddie Dorotan


 Mayor Eugenio Jose “Bong” Lacson, Vice Mayor Geraldo Valmayor, Jr and the City Council of San Carlos City in Negros Occidental passed a pioneering water levy of one peso per cubic meter of water per cubic meter used to protect the watershed.

Water levy is a form of taxation or additional payments by water consumers for their use of water.

 In return, the tax collected is used to protect the watershed – which is the source of water. A non-profit organization manages the fund to protect and develop the watershed.

 Protecting and developing the watershed consisted of:

  • Planting more trees
  • Maintaining a plant nursery
  • Offering alternative livelihood opportunities to farmers
  • Guarding the forest against illegal logging and burning

San Carlos is now dubbed a “sustainable green city.”

Lesson 4: You Want Change? Start with Children!

By Dok. Eddie Dorotan


The eco-savers program is simple.

School children bring recyclables to school. For every kilo of recyclables, a corresponding point is given and tallied in a pink card.

The points are then collected and redeemed as school supplies and goods that children can use. The collected recyclables are sold to buyers who, in turn, convert the recyclables into papers, chairs, ornamentals and building blocks

The results, according to Mayor Marides Fernando: cleaner barangays, less trucks to pick up garbage and more importantly, the formation of school children as eco-warriors.

 Watch the video here:




Lesson 5: From Arms to Farms

By Dok. Eddie Dorotan

Kauswagan in Lanao del Sur used to be a no man’s land.

Christians and Muslims fought each other to the hilt. There were burning of villages and bombing of barangays. Killings by each side were common. The municipal hall was even occupied for a while by armed men.

 Mayor Rommel Arnado, a balikbayan, brought the commanders of the military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to a peace covenant through an organic farming project.

The Municipality of Kauswagan in partnership with the Department of Agriculture through the regional Agricultural Training Institute, trained soldiers and rebels on sustainable organic agriculture.  Then credit and market support were extended. Rebels established field agricultural schools within their homes and implemented integrated farming systems.


With peace, people like rebel leaders Kumander Aguila, Kumander Malik, Kumander Hadji, Kumander Benjie were able to make their lands productive and their net incomes increased.

From Arms to Farms: as its meaning in bisaya mean, Kauswagan is now peaceful and progressive. 

Watch it here:




Living with COVID-19

By Dok. Eddie Dorotan

Covid-19 will be with us for some time. We have no option but to live with the virus while vaccine is not yet available. But what should you do if you are not sick and if you feel sick? Below are some suggestions.

Living with COVID-19. Artwork by Dok. Eddie

If you feel good and not sick:

  • Do PEACESM everyday. PEACESM means Pray, Exercise, Appreciate, Create, Eat right, Serve, Meditate. 
  • As much as possible, stay at home. 
  • If it is necessary to go out, wear mask, and wash/sanitize your hands.
  • Keep distance physically but stay connected.

Read more here …