“Population programmes depend less on bricks and mortar than on the minds and hearts of men and women.”
- Rafael M. Salas
The Commission on Population awarded seven local government units (LGUs) who excelled in population and development work. They were also recognized as 2014 Rafael M. Salas Population and Development Awardees (RMSPDA) last November 26, 2015 at Century Park Hotel Manila.
Saguday, Quirino, a 5th class municipality, bested 17 municipalities and regional RMSPDA finalists and was declared the 2014 RMSPDA. San Jose de Buenavista, Antique came in 1st place and Maramag, Bukidnon was 2nd place.
Saguday, Quirino Mayor Marcelina Pagbilao shared that the RMSPDA served and is serving as a guiding compass on the work they are undertaking. She said that the award is a trophy of the people, a symbol of victory, and a symbol of their collective declaration and commitment for population and development.
For the city category, Butuan City bagged the top spot, followed by Koronadal and Iloilo City who tied for the 1st place and Santiago City for 2nd place.
Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr., MD stressed that the City prioritizes the Population Program to address the needs of the people in our changing times. He reassured the population development community that the LGU shall continue to take into account POPDEV in its programs particularly those directed at poverty reduction.
The documents submitted by the municipalities and cities were carefully reviewed by the Technical Working Group and validated by the hardworking Board of Judges (BOJ) namely:
- Director Annaliza Bonagua
Bureau of Local Government Development, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)
Chairperson, RMSPDA BOJ
- Vice President Dr. Israel Francis Pargas
Corporate Affairs Office, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth)
- Director Erlinda M. Capones
Social Development Staff, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)
- Director Dr. Maria Midea Kabamalan, University of the Philippines Population Institute
- Executive Director Czarina Medina-Guce, Union of Local Authorities (ULAP)
DILG Director Annaliza Bonagua, representing Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento, in the State of the Local Governance Address in relation to population and development, said that beyond achieving our global commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the DILG hopes that such initiatives will be meaningful to the LGUs for its constituents and political legacies as the government and stakeholders work together in upholding good local governance, inclusive growth, and positive outcomes for local communities.
Meanwhile, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Dr. Vicente Belizario, in his Keynote Speech, emphasized that the DOH can learn from these LGU models and propagate the same within the Department’s ranks. He further went to assure the body that the DOH will continue to support the LGUs as contributors to achieving Universal Health Care.
The Commission on Population, for its part, honors the efforts of the local government units who have put their minds and hearts in the implementation of various population management programs.
POPCOM Executive Director Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III believes that Salas is a hero of our time who has inspired the continuous work for population and development. The RMSPDA, now on its 25th year, will continue the legacy of the man who set the bar by being an example to the Filipino populace and the Filipino Leadership, he stressed.