By Richard R. Gappi and Elida Bianca Marcial
July 25, 2017; Tuesday, 5:15AM

Officials of Galing Pook Foundation, which hands out the annual Galing Pook Award, visited the municipality yesterday, Monday, July 24, to examine Angono, Rizal’s entry which is pinning its hope on its successful ‘Zero Squatter Program’ and anti-squatting campaign.

Mayor Gerry Calderon, municipal department heads and leaders from different urban poor groups welcomed Galing Pook Foundation program officer Adrian Adove as well as Mr. Gerry Bulatao and Dr. Emma Porio who examined and validated the entry of Angono.


Bulatao is an incumbent director of Land Bank of the Philippines representing the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries and an NGO personality with a solid grounding in agrarian reform and rural development. He worked with the Federation of Free Farmers and Association of Major Religious Superiors in the 1970s and in various capacities in the Department of Agrarian Reform, including as Undersecretary in the 1990s.

Dr. Porio completed her doctorate in Sociology at the University of Hawaii and is connected with Ateneo de Manila as Department Chairperson, Department of Sociology and Anthropology. She is also a Science Research Fellow at Manila Observatory.

The annual nationwide search for the most outstanding and innovative cites local governance programs that promote positive results and impact, people’s participation and empowerment, innovation, transferability and sustainability and efficiency of program service delivery in the Philippines.

Galing Pook Foundation’s Board of Trustees is led by former Marikina City Mayor Ma. Lourdes Fernando as chairperson and former Sarangani province Governor Miguel Rene Dominguez as vice-chairperson.

It maintains partnership with the following institutions to achieve its vision and mission: Ford Foundation, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Local Government Authority, Land Bank of the Philippines, Philippine Postal Corporation and SEAOIL Foundation.

Win-win mechanism

“With the rise of professional squatters in the municipality topped with existence of various professional squatting syndicates pose a great threat to LGU’s Social Services Fund, Peace and Order so in 2012, I introduced the “Zero Squatter Program” which aims to provide security to informal settlers through active campaign.

We created a win-win mechanism to help alleviate the lives of the informal settlers, institutionalize an office that will focus on addressing various needs and enactment of various legislative interventions to support the program,” Mayor Gerry explained.

Mayor Gerry added: “From being informal settlers, Angono’s marginalized and vulnerable informal sector is now recognized as formal settlers and regular lot buyers. The municipality looks forward to a future that is free from professional squatter and squatting syndicate.”

Based on the presentations of Mayor Gerry, Urban Settlement and Development Office head Reynaldo Tan, Office of the Mayor chief of staff Alan Maniaol, Municipal Planning and Development Office head Nancy Nancy Unidad, and Technical Service coordinator Jolan Aralar, the municipality has spent P9 million for the past three years by providing, arranging, and enrolling 10,046 homeless families in various programs of the National Housing Agency, Housing Land Use and Regulatory Board and talks initiated with private lot owners.

The scheme includes direct lot buying, community mortgage program, NHA program and auctioning of levied properties.

Direct buying is a win-win situation between the informal residents of intruded lands and its owners. The municipality serves as middle man, preparing the community for the purchase while they negotiate with the landowner for a reasonable price.

Community Mortgage Program involves key shelter agencies of our government – the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation and the Social Housing Finance Corporation. Once the community is organized by the municipality, the said agencies are contacted to take over and assist them with the program. They accommodate onsite and offsite land occupants.

National Housing Authority Program is similar to CMP. The NHA program is assisted by its respective agency.

LGU Initiative on Auctioned and Levied Properties Program features highly delinquent private properties that are levied and auctioned by the provincial government. The municipality organizes the community in preparing funds for the auction where they partake or negotiate with the winning bidders. The provincial government then assists the office in the instance of lost – talking to the bidding winners on behalf of the informal settlers.


The Zero Squatter Program particularly institutionalized the Urban Settlement Development Office (USDO), implemented anti-squatting, provided legislative support, increased public awareness campaigns and activities, and tapped community involvement and participation of business sector.

As a result, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council cited Angono with the National Drive Against Professional Squatting and Squatting Syndicates awards as No. 1 in 2015 and No. 2 in 2016 nationwide.

Angono was the only 1st class municipality in this roster dominated by urbanized and highly urbanized cities in the country.

The NDAPSSS award recognized Angono’s outstanding achievements in curtailing the activities of professional squatters and squatter syndicates through sound legislative actions, pragmatic policies, and innovative anti-professional squatting programs and projects, thus enhancing its capacity to address housing and urban development concerns.

NDAPSSS was instituted to curb the nefarious activities of professional squatters and squatting syndicates and intensify as well the national drive against criminal elements that prey on people who need most the protection of the law.

Angono’s Anti-Illegal Squatting Task Force, compose of Urban Settlement and Development Office, Public Safety Office-Civil Security Unit, barangay officials and the Angono Philippine National Police, was able to thwart questionable individuals and groups using spurious titles.

38th place

The Galing Pook Awards was launched on October 21, 1993 as a pioneering program that searches and recognizes innovative practices by local government units.

LGU finalists with outstanding initiatives are carefully selected and winners are recognized in a very prestigious awarding ceremony.

For a program to be considered for the Galing Pook Awards, it must meet the following minimum requirements: must have involved or engaged processes within a local government unit (barangay, municipality, city, or province) even if the program might have been initiated (either independently or jointly) by an NGO, CSO and/or an LGU, must have been in operation for at least one (1) year before the deadline of submission and must have verifiable and significant results.

Out of 158 submissions from different municipalities nationwide, Angono’s ‘Zero Squatter Program’ placed 38th among the programs to be validated.

2nd Galing Pook

Angono previously won the Galing Pook Award in 2003 with its entry titled “Sa Turismo Aangat Ang Angono,” an attempt at total development using its tourism advantage as a vehicle and centrepiece by embarking on a physical makeover, road construction and traffic decongestion, systematized public transport system, market renovation, and tapping volunteerism as social ethic.

Based on its website, Galing Pook traces its beginnings in 1993 when the first Gantimpalang Panglingkod Pook was held.

The Awards Program was a joint initiative of the Local Government Academy–Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Ford Foundation, and other individual advocates of good governance from the academe, civil society and the government.

The Asian Institute of Management administered the awards program until 2000.

Earlier in 1998, the Galing Pook Foundation was formally established as a private awards-giving body to sustain the Awards program.

In its two decades of existence, Galing Pook has become a leading resource institution continuously promoting innovation and excellence in local governance. It proactively searches and recognizes best local government practices and facilitates their adoption in more communities in the country.

The foundation’s vision is to serve as “the leading resource institution that promotes innovation, sustainability, citizen empowerment and excellence in local governance” alongside its mission of “promoting excellence in local governance through recognition, sharing of information and support of efforts to replicate best practices at the local level.”

The foundation’s Board of Trustees and secretariat include the following:

Ma. Lourdes Fernando, Chairperson, Former Mayor, Marikina City
Miguel Rene Dominguez, Vice-Chairperson. Trustee, Synergeia Foundation. Former Governor, Sarangani Province
Elmer Soriano, Corporate Secretary Country Manager, Civika Institute
Edna Estifania Co, Treasurer. Executive Director, UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies
Edicio Dela Torre, Trustee. Chairperson, Education for Life Foundation
Lilian De Leon, Trustee. Consultant, Jollibee Foods Corporation. Former Executive Director, League of Municipalities of the Philippines
Jose Rene Gayo, Trustee. President, Foundations for People Development
Elisea Gozun, Trustee. Trustee, Government Service Insurance System
Veronica Villavicencio, Trustee. Former Convenor, National Anti-Poverty Commission.


Eddie Dorotan, Executive Director
Lorenzo Ubalde, Program Officer
Adrian Adove, Program Officer
Genevive Gabion, Finance Officer
Monette Montemayor, Program Assistant
Christine Beltran, Administrative and Finance Assistant
Marwin Gotis, Administrative Assistant