Exemplary service of government units often goes unnoticed especially in the case of the smallest units of the government, the barangays. To effectively disseminate and sustain its key programs down to the barangay and even to the purok levels and give due recognition to their efforts, the municipal government launched the Monthly Search for Galing Barangay and Galing Purok program.
Initially, the program provided incentive to all of San Felipe’s barangays and puroks to align and support the implementation of the municipal government’s various programs on cleanliness and beautification, organic farming promotion, health and wellness, disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM), anti-drugs and smoking campaign, and solid waste management. The program did not only encourage the barangay and purok leaders to perform their mandates but also fostered a culture and environment of excellence. The additional budget from the cash winnings also provided incentive for continuing excellence in improving their community. The program works with a panel of judges from various sectors in the community / municipality (business sector, church, academe, people and community leaders, police, etc). Their participation in the program increased their understanding and appreciation of various local programs, and they have become active partners in the promotion and mobilization of community support for these programs. It also mobilized beyond the barangay and purok officials involving the youth, the women, the transport sector, senior citizens, among others, in becoming proactive partners in the implementation, observance and compliance with the various key local governance programs.
Since the program works on a set of criteria, the criteria serve as guidelines for the barangays and puroks to set their priorities and allow them to implement programs that have significant impacts to the community in the various areas of governance. The program became a mechanism not only to ensure the compliance to mandated plans (solid waste management, DRRM, nutrition, peace and order and safety, etc) but also encourages the barangays to activate and make functional local special bodies (such as the Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Barangay Anti-Drug Advisory Council, Barangay Health Boards, Barangay Nutrition Councils, Barangay Council for the Protection of Children, among others) that provided for greater coordination and citizens’ participation in barangay governance
Since the monthly search has been on-going for the past five years and that most of the local programs have become a way of life and attitude of the people, it has become easy for the barangays and the municipality to gain recognition for its best practices. The municipality noted the high performance of the barangays such as Brgy. Amagna and Brgy. Apostol (2014), Brgy. Balincaguing (2015) and Brgy. Manglicmot (2016), which were Regional Winners in the DOH’s Search for the Barangay with the Best Sanitation Practices, with Brgy. Apostol and Brgy. Balincaguing landing as National Finalists for the years 2014 and 2015, respectively. Barangay Sto. Niño was a consistent winner of the Best Lupong Tagapamayapa from 2014, 2015 and 2016 in the Regional Level and a consistent National Finalist.
Moreover, all barangays have functional Barangay Health Boards leading towards consistent and almost zero neonatal deaths and maternal deaths, 98% households with access to clean, sanitary toilets, and 100% households with access to clean, potable water supply. The functional Barangay Health Information Boards helped achieve zero dengue incident in 2015, zero malaria incident for the past five years, 100% deliveries by a health professional, 100% facility based deliveries, 93% fully immunized children, 100% Tuberculosis Cure Rate, among others.
To provide opportunity for other barangays and puroks to win the monthly search, a barangay or a purok that has won three times within the year would not be part of the search in the remaining months for they will be awarded as a hall of famer. This enabled more barangays and puroks to be motivated in executing excellent service to implement various good governance programs of the municipality.
It is not a surprise, the Municipality of San Felipe, Zambales was recognized with the 2016 Seal of Good Local Governance where it passed all the core and essential elements of good governance namely (1) Fiscal Administration; (2) Social Protection; (3) Peace and Order; (4) Business Friendliness; (5) Disaster Preparedness and Risk Reduction; and (6) Solid Waste Management. It was adjudged as the Most Business Friendly Local Government Unit (Municipal-Level 2 Category) by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the years 2012, 2013 and 2015 and elevated as Hall of Fame Awardee in the year 2016 where all areas of implementation of local programs were evaluated. It was also adjudged as a Regional Green Banner Awardee in 2016 by the RegionalNutrition Council, for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 as Red Orchid Awardee by the Department of Health and Municipal Health Leadership and Governance Program awardee for 2016 by the Central Luzon Excellence for Health Awards.