SIXTEEN local government units (LGUs) from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have been recognized and conferred with the “Gawad Kalasag” award for their disaster risk reduction and management initiatives during the 22nd National Gawad Kalasag Seal and Special Awards for Excellence in DRRM and Humanitarian Assistance held in Cotabato City recently, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
DILG Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr. personally went to Cotabato City to join the awarding rites and confer the Gawad Kalasag award to the 16 LGUs, who were each presented with plaques of recognition.
“Congratulations to the 16 BARMM LGUs for winning the Gawad Kalasag Award. Ito po ay isang patunay sa husay sa paglilingkod-bayan at DRRM (Disaster Risk Reduction Management) initiatives ng mga pamahalaang lokal. Ipagpatuloy po ninyo ito at pagsumikapang itaas ang antas ng serbisyo publiko dito sa BARMM,” Abalos said during the awarding ceremony.
“There’s a spirit of Bayanihan that is important in all of us, and that is what you’ve done. You’ve acted far beyond the call of duty, even risking your own lives. Your sense of responsibility and vigilance before and during the crisis will always be known, will always be reported, and inscribed in our history,” he added.
Gawad Kalasag is the country’s recognition and award scheme for various stakeholders who promote and implement DRRM-climate change adaptation and humanitarian assistance programs that protect and shield high-risk communities against extreme hazards and render them more capable of addressing their vulnerabilities spearheaded by the National DRRM Council through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).
Leading the awardees are Upi, Maguindanao Del Norte under the Beyond Compliant category. 15 other LGUs were also awarded under the Fully Compliant category, which includes the province of Maguindanao; Basilan province; Ampatuan, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Guindulungan, Paglat, South Upi, and Sultan Sa Barongis, all from Maguindanao Del Sur; Bubong, Piagapo, and Wao all from Lanao Del Sur; Lamitan City and Tuburan both from Basilan; Talipao, Sulu; and Parang, Maguindanao Del Norte.
On the other hand, the Jolo Emergency Rescue Network (JERN) Inc. was the recipient of the regional award for “Best Government Emergency Management and Response Teams” (GEMs), while plaques of appreciation were also given to the Bangsamoro DRRM Council member agencies as well as DRRM Partners from both the public and the private sectors.
Bangsamoro Government representative and Ministry ILG BARMM Director General Khalid Dumagay said, “By working together, headed by our common objectives of making lives easier for our people, our awardees, despite the complex transition we currently are undergoing, coupled with natural and man-made calamities, you have proven that we in BARMM can cope with the best LGUs in the country.”
A total of 135 “Beyond Compliant” LGUs, 436 “Fully Compliant” LGUs, and 16 special awardees have been given nationwide with the 22nd Gawad Kalasag and special awards.
Meanwhile, Abalos likewise handed plaques of appreciation to recipients of the 1st Asenso Misamis Occidental Honors and Awards Ceremony, which he cited as “a celebration of the milestones that the province has attained over the years.”
“The first Asenso Misamis Occidental Honors and Awards Ceremony is a testament to the province’s commitment to mold principled, honorable and nationalistic citizens who will always choose to be at the forefront of serving our country and our people,” Abalos said.
“Sa lahat ng Misamisnon Graduates ng Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA), at Outstanding Misamisnons na kinilala sa araw na ito, ang buong Pilipinas ay sumasaludo sa inyong kabayanihan at puso para sa bayan. May your integrity and excellence in your respective vocation, inspire more Misamisnons to follow your footsteps,” he added.
Among the recipients of the outstanding Misamisnon award with groundbreaking contributions in their respective fields, such as Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John E. Uy; Atty. Alexis M. Lumbatan; Dr. Ben S. Malayang III; former Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Francisco M. Varela; Mayor Rolando A. Uy; former governor and Assemblyman Henry Y. Regalado; and former congressman and Governor Douglas R.A. Cagas.
Other awardees were Eunice Cez D. Encarnada; Dr. Victorio N. Cajita; Felicispin Tumanda; former senator and Congressman Jose F. Ozamiz; former Department of Education Culture and Sports (DECS) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Dr. Ricardo T. Gloria; and, former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Dr. Hilarion J. Ramiro Jr.
Nineteen Misamisnon alumni of the PNPA and 27 alumni of the PMA were also honored during the maiden awarding ceremony.