neda12-web-popdev-awardeeKoronadal City, South Cotabato – The City of Koronadal and the Municipality of Polomolok of South Cotabato recently won the 2014 Rafael M. Salas Population and Development Award (RMSPDA) for Region XII. Koronadal City edged out the cities of Kidapawan and Gen. Santos in the City Category, while Polomolok won over two other contenders, namely, Isulan and Tupi, in the Municipality Category.

The RMSPDA is a biennial award given out by the Commission on Population (POPCOM) in honor of Atty. Rafael M. Salas who was the first head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). It was first launched by POPCOM in 1989, and has been done every other year, to perpetuate the legacy and important contributions of Atty. Salas in the field of population and development. It is designed to honor individuals, institutions, local government units or local chief executives for their outstanding contributions in the field of population and development. It also aims to heighten support and participation among government, non-government officials, individuals, or institutions in the implementation of the population management programs.

The biennial award focuses on a specific category or theme. For this year, the RMSPDA is conferred to a Local Government Unit (city and municipality) that showcased outstanding PopDev-oriented programs and projects or innovations.

Dr. Juan Antonio A. Perez III, POPCOM Executive Director, led the awarding ceremonies and delivered the keynote address at the Farm@Carpenter Hill, Koronadal City on 11 August 2015.

Director Perez commended the regional awardees for their efforts and initiatives towards promoting and supporting population and development programs and projects in their respective local government units. He emphasized that any development effort in the locality must uphold the inclusive growth strategy being espoused by the Aquino Administration so that nobody would be left behind in the pursuit of development growth of the area.

“As what Atty. Salas has been emphasizing, people should be always at the center of our development efforts,” Director Perez further said. “We must really involve all sectors of society, especially women who play important role in family planning initiatives, in our pursuit of economic development in the area, especially now that we are entering the era of ‘Sustainable Development’ and as we are wrapping up our efforts on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) this year.”

Aside from Koronadal and Polomolok, the municipality of North Upi, Maguindanao was also declared the winner for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The regional nominees for the 2014 RMSPDA were evaluated and ranked by the members of the Regional Board of Judges (RBOJ), based on their ratings on selected indicators in the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Health (DOH) scorecards, as well as on PopDev core elements. Field visits were also done by RBOJ members to validate the respective scores of LGUs in the scorecard.

The scores or accomplishments of the regional nominees were subjected to the following criteria: a) Health Management Elements (40%), which include governance on health and health financing, access to programs, services and facilities, and performance monitoring; and b) Population and Development Elements (60%).

At the national level, the National Board of Judges will choose the top three (3) cities and top three (3) municipalities from among all the regional entries and will conduct field visits and validation only for the chosen six national nominees.

The national level grand winners for each category will receive P200,000 each, while the 2nd and 3rd place awardees will each receive P150,000 and P100,000, respectively, for each category. The RMSPDA national awarding ceremonies is scheduled within this month.

The regional winners for 2014 RMSPDA each received a cash prize of P50,000.00, while regional nominees received plaques of recognition. Koronadal City Mayor Peter B. Miguel, Polomolok Municipal Administrator Leonard A. Griño, representing Mayor Honey L. Lumayag-Matti, and North Upi Mayor Ramon A. Piang, Sr. received the cash awards.

Also present during the regional awarding ceremonies were DOH XII Regional Director Teogenes F. Baluma, POPCOM XII Regional Director Edwin Mateo P. Quijano, representatives of DOH-ARMM Secretary Dr. Kadil M. Sinolinding, Jr. and Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu of Maguindanao, and 2005 RMSPDA National Awardee Melfe S. Gallego of South Cotabato. (Eden F. Ridao/DRD-NEDA12)