Ilocos Norte’s youth program wins Galing Pook Awards 2015
Proving its continuing excellence in local governance in the past few years, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) was cited as one of the ten Galing Pook 2015 awardees for its flagship youth program “Sirib Express.”
Governor Imee Marcos led the capitol department heads and Sirib Express Staff in presenting PGIN’s winning entry at the SMX Convention Center of the Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
On September 1, 2015, Ilocos Norte was conferred the Galing Pook Award 2015 plaque and a P100,000 check.
Galing Pook Awards is an annual search for best local governance programs nationwide spearheaded by the Department of Interior and Local Government with its partner advocates of good governance from the academe, civil society and the government.
Winning entries are judged based on positive results and impacts (30%), promotion of people’s participation and empowerment (30%), innovation (15%), transferability and sustainability (15%) and efficiency of program service delivery (10%).
PGIN’s program entry, Sirib Express, was primarily created in 2013 to provide assistance to students, out-of-school youth and job-seeking graduates.
Named after the Ilocano term “knowledge,” the program encourages full participation and involvement of the Ilocano youth in governance by providing them opportunities to interact and voice out public concerns that would contribute to the province’s development.
Sirib Express started as a roving one-stop shop which makes the frontline services of the Provincial Government more accessible to the youth, including educational scholarships, employment assistance, guidance counseling as well as various seminars and workshops.
Sirib Express has then evolved into a permanent Capitol department—the Sirib Youth Office—through Provincial Ordinance No. 039-2015.
According to Gov. Marcos, the set-up of the Sirib Youth Office in Ilocos Norte is parallel to the provisions of Senate Bill No. 2401 which mandates the creation of Local Youth Development Offices in provinces, cities and municipalities which will ensure the implementation of projects and programs formulated by the ‘reformed’ Sangguniang Kabataan and their Local Youth Development Council.
Different programs, projects and events for youth development were formulated based on consultation meetings with student and youth leaders such as Sirib Young Leaders Scholarship Program, Sirib Youth Awards and Sirib Leadership Camp.
Gov. Marcos also led the development of “Sirib Mile,” a community of schools in the university belt in order to create a “learning province” with various educational and recreational equipment offered to out-of-school youth and students for free.
Library and wi-fi services are also made available at the 38 new and refurbished Information Hubs in the province through the Provincial Education Department and Information Technology and Communications Department.
The Sirib Express Staff claims that the greatest impact of these youth development projects is the successful promotion of youth volunteerism through the establishment of the Sirib Ilokano Kabataan Association (SIKA).
SIKA is a youth volunteer organization initiated and created by the Ilocano youth during their leadership camp last April 2014.
With over 5,000 members, the organization joins the Sirib Express in its regular municipal and university tours to further assess the needs and create opportunities especially for the out-of-school youth and indigents.
“SIKA members serve as our partners in good governance serving as volunteer event organizers, Paspas Dur-as! newsletter distributors, tour guides and partners in ensuring that programs of PGIN reach the grassroots,” said Provincial Information Officer June Arvin Gudoy.
Gov. Marcos thanked the Sirib Express and SIKA for their laudable efforts as evident in the remarkable improvements on education, employment and well-being of the youth.
“Congratulations to Sirib and SIKA! In the past few years, we have made remarkable improvement in the students’ National Achievement Test results. Participation rate has also increased by 5 points and survival rate by 4 points. Enrolment rate also increased especially among the primary level,” she added.
In addition, Ilocos Norte share the highest employment rate in Region 1 at 95.26%—a percentage even higher than the national average in 2013.
The training of youth peer counselors has also led to the meaningful decline of suicide rate in the province.
“Maraming silbi ang Sirib Youth Office dahil hindi naman lihim na marami talagang problema ang kabataan. Yung Sirib (Express) naging pansamantalang pamilya ng mga kabataan at sana ay maging inspirasyon ito sa Sirib at SIKA para pagtibayin at palagiin ang kanilang ginagawa,” Gov. Marcos said.
As an advocate of youth involvement in governance and as former chairman of the Kabataang Barangay, Gov. Marcos believes that the enthusiasm of the Ilocano youth is what the province and country needs to achieve transformational growth.
“Naniniwala ako na kayang-kaya pa rin ng kabataan ngayon na baguhin ang lipunan at himukin ang kanilang sariling kinabukasan. Let us march toward the dream of greatness. ’Yan ang ating panawagan—a huge challenge to make Ilocos Norte and our republic great again. To make the youth a moving force of society to transform what we have inherited to a deserving future,” Gov. Imee said during Sirib Express’ first year anniversary celebration.—Jennifer T. Pambid, PGIN-CMO