It was the most awaited night of the year. The ballroom was filled with excitement and anticipation as men and women clad in barong tagalog and Filipiniana await the announcement of this year’s CapDev ACE awardees.  It was a special night indeed and who would not want to be in the venue to once again witness an individual and a team’s dream become a reality--to be recognized for their hard work and be in the roster of the best in the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

For Regional Director Ma. Lourdes L. Agustin, one of the guests in attendance as one of the nominees for the Capacity Development Leadership Award or Tatag ng Agila it was a day of reckoning all her achievements for the last 29 years.  Achievements that entitled her to be one of the contenders for the most coveted award for a DILG executive.  She was not expecting anything, win or lose, being on the list of finalists was already an achievement for her. 

On the other hand, the DILG Quezon City team was feeling the pressure that night. For the 3rd time, the Quezon City field office was vying for the Bugkos ng Bayan (Most Outstanding Cluster/HUC/Province).  It would be a sweet victory for the team if they could take home the award for the third consecutive year.

Held at the historic Manila Hotel, the Gabi ng Parangal on December 13, 2018 was the 3rd installment of the Capacity Development Awards for Catalysts of Excellence in Local Governance or CapDev ACE.  The Awards Program recognizes outstanding performance of DILG officials, employees and Local Governance Regional Resource Centers in delivering capacity development programs, projects, and activities that have made a resounding impact on the lives of fellow employees, the organization, or on a wider perspective, the community. It has two (2) main categories, the individual (Awards for Exemplary Performance) and group (LGRRC Champions) category.

On its third year, the LGA took a more holistic approach in determining the winners. A team of validators composed of representatives from local resource institutions from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao took on a tedious job of documents review and short-listing and onsite validation to choose the most deserving recipients of the CapDev ACE awards.  The validators presented their findings and recommendations to the Awards Committee composed of highly-esteemed individuals for calibration. 

All eyes were set on stage when the masters of ceremony started announcing this year’s awardees.  Regional Director Agustin was hailed as the 2018 Tatag ng Agila awardee.  She was in disbelief when her name was called. At the time, she was still struggling physically and emotionally from her health condition. She composed herself and started to go up the stage thanking the Lord in her mind. 

According to her, the award is a manifestation of the impact that the regional office had on their LGUs, especially the cities.  Expectations from the LGUs are now higher, and for RD Agustin they cannot be complacent.  “We have to double our effort especially now that performance is evident in the way LGUs are faring in the SGLG and other audit results”. She promised a more targeted intervention for LGUs and a brand of leadership that is shared, be it in victory or challenges.

As fate would have it, Team Quezon City did not win that night but the mission for RD Agustin and the DILG Quezon City is not yet accomplished.  With or without the CapDev ACE award, the experience serves as a building block to continue learning and perform better for the LGUs they serve.

Introduced in 2016, the CapDev ACE is a dream that came into fruition by then Executive Director Marivel C. Sacendoncillo who firmly believes that the country can be great with local governments upfront.  And with DILG officers sharing their life, time and talent is what makes these local governments stronger and better.  Incidentally, former LGA Executive Director and now Undersecretary Sacendoncillo became one of the recipients of the Bagwis ng Paglilingkod sa Bayan, a new awards category of the 2018 edition of the CapDev ACE.  She is joined by no less than former Undersecretary Austere A. Panadero who was also awarded the Bagwis ng Paglilingkod.  Both leaders have exemplified the values of dedication to public service while upholding the mandate and core values of the Department.

When all the euphoria has gone down from the awards night and winners have been proclaimed, it is left to the individuals and teams how they find meaning in the recognition or prestige that the CapDev ACE has given them.  As another year unfolds, the LGA together with DILG hopes that this awards program continues to fulfill its core objective. That beyond the trophies, medals and incentives, the program has brought forth the models worth emulating—the “mahusay, matino, and maasahan na kawani ng kagawaran.” They have left a lasting impression that no matter how little one think of the work they do, chances are it might have created a positive impact to others.

And for the LGA, CapDev ACE serves as a motivation to inspire the persons of the Department, regardless of job position, to continue their outstanding service to the public and with greater sense of passion and commitment; Much work still needs to be done and countless people await, hope and dream of a better future. As Executive Director Thelma Vecina would put it -- “Tomorrow, we continue our journey in development. Tomorrow, we continue improving the lives of those we govern or care for, especially the last, the lost, and the least.”

For list of winners, click here

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