Three programs of the Quezon City Government were chosen as finalists of this year’s Galing Pook Awards, a prestigious awards program that promotes innovation and excellence in local governance.

With the theme “GobyerNEW: Magagaling na Programa mula sa Magagaling na Pook”, this year’s Galing Pook Awards focuses on local government units’ “programs that exemplified adaptiveness, innovation, resiliency, and excellence during these difficult times.”

Mayor Joy Belmonte presented the programs during the validation process.

“We are truly proud of these programs because of how they greatly influence and change the lives of our QCitizens. We are happy because amid the pandemic, we were able to continue providing social services that went beyond the COVID-19 response,” Mayor Belmonte said.

One of the programs selected is the Quezon City Human Milk Bank (QCHMB) that aims to help end preventable deaths among vulnerable newborns by giving them lifesaving mother’s milk. As of 2020, the QCHMB has helped 5,023 infants survive, not just in Quezon City but also across the country, by making available 979,624ml of pasteurized human milk to them.

Out of the 8,820 mothers who were screened for eligibility to donate, 8,658 mothers passed as breastmilk donors.

The local government also recognized the struggles of children with disabilities through its community-based rehabilitation program known as the Kabahagi Center for Children with Disabilities.

As of June 2021, 1,339 children with disabilities have been profiled by disability focal persons; 1,163 of them availed of the services of the Kabahagi Center; 1,240 therapy services were provided to the children; and the children’s families also received multiple benefits such as livelihood training and educational workshops. The program adopted several innovations such as telemedicine, telecoaching, and e-skwela to provide unhampered services for children with disabilities and their families during this pandemic.

One of the main advocacies of the city government is its multi-sectoral and community-based food security program named GrowQC: Kasama ka sa Pag-unlad sa Pagkain, Kabuhayan at Kalusugan Food Security Program, which was launched during the height of the pandemic last April 2020.

Its objectives meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) #2 – Zero Hunger, SDG#3 – Good Health & Well-being, SDG#8 – Decent Work & Economic Growth, and SDG#17 – Partnership for the Sustainable Development Goals.

As of May 2021, the program has distributed 52,374 starter kits and seedlings for 37 communities; institutionally repurposed garden spaces of 41 Brigada Eskwela urban gardens (under the Gulayan sa Paaralan Program) and 49 gardens of civil society organizations, private organizations, and non-government organizations; and provided 1,166 unemployed/underemployed/displaced workers with livelihood and employment, among other interventions.

Mayor Belmonte recognized the valuable contribution of all stakeholders involved in the success of these programs.

“We are fortunate to have an active citizenry here in our city where everyone is ready to heed the call to action and help their fellow citizens. The success of these programs, among other programs of the city, are truly an inspiration to continue abiding by the pillars of our governance philosophy, which is inclusivity – Kasama ka sa Pag-unlad,” Belmonte said.

Ten winners from a total of 22 finalists from a roster of 280 entries will be awarded on October 20, 2021.