Of the five cities selected as national finalists for this year’s Gawad Pamana ng Lahi of the Department of Interior and Local Government, only Tacurong managed to join an elite group composed of cities all coming from Luzon.

               
Tacurong, the only city finalist from Mindanao, together with the cities of Vigan, Santiago, Puerto Princesa, and Makati, received an invitation from the Department of Interior and Local Government to gather in Manila on October 18 for the final screening of the Gawad Pamana ng Lahi or GPL.
The final screening, a panel interview with the city mayors, was the final step in the selection process to determine which city will emerge as the country’s national winner of the Gawad Pamana ng Lahi, a total award concept that recognizes best-performing local government units in governance.

Aside from cities, finalists for the provincial and municipal categories were also called by the DILG for the panel interview. Finalists for the provincial category are Benguet, Albay, Nueva Vizcaya, and Cavite; while Carmona (Cavite), Moncayo (Compostela Valley), Jagna (Bohol), Anilao (Iloilo), and San Nicolas (Ilocos Norte) rounded up the finalists under the municipal category.
Results of the panel interview are expected to be released within this week and the awarding ceremonies are tentatively scheduled on October 26.
However, regardless of what city gets declared as national winner, officials and employees of the city government of Tacurong are already brimming with joy and pride for being shortlisted as finalist. “Being in the top five and the only one from Mindanao is already a huge accomplishment of the city government”, Tacurong City Mayor Lina Montilla said.
Gawad Pamana ng Lahi is one of the highest awards conferred by the DILG to a province, city or municipality that exhibited exemplary performance in five areas of governance, namely: administrative, social, economic, and environmental governance. It is also an instrument to scale-up the valuing of accountability, transparency and inclusivity in local administration and development.
To become eligible for the National Gawad Pamana ng Lahi, a Local Government Unit (LGU) must be a regional winner of the said award in its region. It must also have a validated Local Government Performance Management System (LGPMS) average rating of 4.31 (the highest rating is 5).
 It must also be stamped with the Silver Seal of Good Housekeeping, which means the LGU excels in the areas of accountable governance, transparent governance, and frontline service performance. Another requirement to become eligible for the National GPL is that an LGU must have introduced high-impact innovations in governance in the last three years; and that it must be at least a regional or national awardee of any award in local governance in the preceding year of the evaluation.
After besting other cities in Region 12 during the evaluation conducted in July, Tacurong was declared as the regional winner and automatically became a finalist for the national award. From among the thirteen regional winners under the city category, top five cities were selected and the city of Tacurong made it to the upper five. (Allan Freno)