Paglilingkod Abot-Kamay (PAK)
The buzzword in governance is bringing the government closer to the people. In Magsaysay, Davao del Sur, the mayor and his staff decided to do this literally, and gained positive results in the process.
Magsaysay is a fourth-class municipality where most barangays are situated in remote areas. Out of 22 barangays in the municipality, 12 are in upland areas. Residents thus have limited access to basic services such as obtaining death or birth certificates, scheduling civil marriages, obtaining a community tax certificate, and availing of medical and dental benefits.
To solve the problem, the municipal government issued Executive Order 99-04 in 1999, which established the “Pagliligkod Abot-Kamay” (PAK). Once a year, a PAK Service comprising of representatives from all key offices of the local government visit a barangay.
The team makes sure medical and dental services are given to the barangays, seedlings are distributed, on-site mass weddings held, tax assessments and collections done, and even free haircuts are given.
Filipinos, who value face-to-face encounters, began to realize the sincerity of local government officials. Aside from an increase in tax collections (200% in 2000), the local government says the PAK program also resulted in a decline in the insurgency problem in the municipality.
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 2002 Galing Pook Awards.