The people of Infanta and its officials deserve that Congratulations. For more info on what the people of Infanta are doing - at home and abroad, hope you will get hold of the publication "Labong ng Kawayan - Walking through the pathways and streets of Infanta", published in 2002 by the Metro Infanta Foundation, Inc., Arvada, Colorado, U.S.A. (website www.infanta. org) and the Socio-Pastoral Institute, 1099 Manila, (email email@example.com),
There is also a Coffee Table Book titled: "Infanta Passage to the Pacific", published in 2004, by BPI Foundation, Inc., The Bank of the Philippine Islands Bldg., Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Tel. 896-9439. Said Coffee Table Book contains short history, socio-cultural, economic life of the people, plus some native or homegrown recipes or food preparations, accompanied by colored photos of the place and its inhabitants.
Mabuhay! and have a nice weekend.
Below is another kudos for Infanta
FROM THE STANDS By Domini M. Torrevillas
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Can you believe such things as:
Municipalities building roads costing only P30,000 per kilometer?
School children saving and collecting and earning from trash?
A town well-prepared for natural disasters?
Yes, you can, what with a foundation looking for, and awarding, local governments that partner with the people to make their lives better.
Ten of these outstanding local governments — with stories “of hope and inspiration” — were recently given awards by Galing Pook Foundation Inc., a pioneering program, with support from the Development Bank of the Philippines, Ford Foundation, and the Local Government Academy, that recognizes innovation and excellence in local governance.
The awards indeed bring hope and inspiration, for as Galing Pook chairperson Rafael Coscolluela puts it, “When bad governance hits the headlines almost daily, ordinary citizens feel nothing goes well anymore. Indeed, good governance in the public sector has become a major gut issue today.”
These year’s awardees, or success stories, are experiences in youth development, watershed conservation, disaster management, infrastructure and livelihood development, health insurance and agricultural development. According to Coscolluela, the stories showcase innovative local government efforts to build houses for the homeless, to preserve watershed areas through an innovative financing scheme, and to pool limited resources through intra-LGU partnership to build their own roads in Mindanao.
At last week’s Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel, three local officials spoke about their success stories. For one reason or another there was no representative to tell the story of the Kabalikat PALMA Alliance infrastructure project, which seems too good to be happening. This is the alliance of five municipalities in Cotabato (Pigcawayan, Alamada, Libungan, Midsayap and Aleoson) who pooled their infrastructure equipment, machinery, personnel and expertise to collectively work on road building projects in those five towns, and spent only P30,000 per kilometer of such roads.
The alliance was able to expedite road rehabilitation and covered more areas in a short time. The host municipality or barangay would pay only for the fuel of the equipment and a labor fee of P200 for each worker. This translated into sizeable savings for the alliance members.
Started in Feb. 20, 2002, the project has rehabilitated and opened new roads totaling 281.45 kilometers of farm-to-market roads, with a total cost of P8.475 million.
The road network has made the lives of the people in around 145 barangays much better. There has been a 20 percent increase in agricultural productivity, resulting in more income for the farmers, reduced transportation costs, reduced travel time, and improved access to social services for people residing in far-flung barangays.
Admirable is the people’s involvement in the planning, implementing, monitoring and sustaining of the projects. At the barangay level, the community provides lodging for the drivers and operators of heavy equipment, securing and safeguarding the machineries, providing snacks and meals for the work force, and supervising and seeing that the projects are done. On the other hand, the municipality is tasked with the deployment of its equipment to the host municipality or barangay, ensuring that the equipment is in good working condition, and contributing P200,000 to the PALM A Alliance coffers and monitoring and evaluating the project implementation.
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Another Galing Pook awardee is the Marikina city government, which has been reaping awards for noteworthy projects. This time, the city’s Eco Savers project is being emulated by concerned local executives. This unique waste segregation and recycling project encourages school children to bring to school on an assigned weekly Eco Day, recyclable trash from their houses and neighborhood, and are given credits that are posted on their individual eco passbooks. The passbook points are redeemed from Eco Savers Mobile Store in the form of school supplies, books, dictionaries and educational toys.
Mayor Ma. Lourdes Fernando told Bulong Pulungan that a total of 238,000 kilos of waste have been diverted from dumpsites. Local waste disposal costs have gone down from 50 truckload trips a day to 30 trips a day. Each trip costs P3,000, so there’s savings of P60,000 a day for the city!
The program is on the best practices list of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources website. And in a span of one year, said Mayor Fernando, Marikina welcomed 5,612 Lakbay Aral groups who wished to observe and learn from the city’s waste management program.
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Isabela is a Galing Pook awardee for its Price Stabilization Program for Rice and Corn (PALLGU/CMAPIPULGU) that has helped grains farmers fetch higher prices for their products. The program has benefited 87,500 rice farmers and 85,086 corn producers, Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca said at the Bulong Pulungan media forum.
An agreement between the National Food Authority and local government units subsidized the rice and corn production of farms, and the provincial government allowed farmers to deal directly with traders from Bulacan, Batangas and Pangasinan to get the best prices for their rice and corn.
Isabela has generated a net profit of about P450,000 from the program. It has also introduced “Libreng Hakot,” which allows trucks to haul their produce from designated centers to the nearest NFA warehouse.
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The tragic flashfloods of November 2004, which affected over 12,000 families in the municipality of Infanta in Quezon Province, led them to plan and implement a trailblazing Community-Based Disaster Preparedness and Management Program (CBDPM), and receive a 2007 Galing Pook Award.
Infanta Mayor Filipina Grace America said that in just three years after flashfloods swept away entire barangays, the town has rehabilitated and repaired many of the damaged infrastructure. Local and international agencies, NGOs and other donors, many entrepreneurs, people’s organizations, farmers and fishermen have rebuilt their lives and businesses.
The Infanta program places importance on pre-disaster preparedness, ensuring the evacuation of people and avoiding the loss of lives and property.
A people’s signature campaign resulted in the release of P50 million by Malacañang for the construction of slope protection structures and river re-channeling projects. The municipal government also used its 2006 supplemental budget for Agos river rehabilitation and flood control, dredging waterways and canals and other development projects.
Infanta’s disaster-preparedness program was put to a test with super typhoon Reming, which struck the country with the force of Storm Signal No. 4. But the people of Infanta responded quickly and launched search and rescue efforts for affected families.
“Infanta has now added the phrase ‘disaster-resilient citizenry’ in its municipal vision for the next 30 years, and brought CBDM into the mainstream of good governance,” said Mayor America.
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Galing galing ng projects ng Pook Gawad, noh?