POPCOM Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III (File photo)

MANILA – The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) lauded on Thursday the unrelenting efforts of several local government units (LGUs) to implement the Philippine Population and Development Program (PPDP) amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

During the 2022 Kaunlarang Pantao Awards, also known as Rafael M. Salas POPDEV award held in the City of Manila, POPCOM Executive Director, Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, said it could have been convenient for the LGUs to put the PPDP on the sidelines to prioritize the pandemic efforts.

He added that several LGUs were resolute about the importance of the program.

"Many municipalities and cities saw the positive effects of PPDP in the quality of lives of their citizenry and communities; that these would just be too valuable to forego, fully cognizant of the aftereffects if they will just be set aside," Perez said.

The awards were categorized into PPDP’s three key strategies that include responsible parenthood and family planning (RPFP); adolescent health and development (AHD); and population and development integration (POPDEV).

Cities ranked as top advocates for RPFP were Iloilo City; Santo Tomas, Batangas; and Borongan City, Eastern Samar, with the municipal counterparts of Lambunao, Iloilo; Kibungan, Benguet; and Lian, Batangas.

Meanwhile, the main proponents for AHD were General Santos City; Cabuyao City, Laguna; Naga City, Camarines Sur; and Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental. For municipalities, Mariveles, Bataan; Duenas, Iloilo; and Pangil, Laguna topped the list.

Leading provincial capitals as implementers for POPDEV were San Carlos City, Pangasinan; Muntinlupa City; and Tabuk City, Kalinga. Municipalities included Libertad, Antique; Samal, Bataan; and Maddela, Quirino.

POPCOM executives and their counterparts from partner-government agencies personally handed out the awards to key local government officials, including a number of local chief executives (LCEs) who received the KPA trophies and plaques on behalf of their cities or municipalities.

The top-ranked cities and municipalities received cash prizes worth PHP200,000 for the first placers; PHP150,000 (second); and PHP100,000 (third).

Perez reminded the awardees that their successes need to be sustained, as there are areas in their work for PPDP which remain unattended and require full attention.

“More couples still need to be reached; a lot of mothers to be cared for; countless adolescents protected from early and unintended pregnancies; and so many families need to be covered by decent, livable wages, among others. I am however confident the LGUs in our midst will lead the march in addressing these societal concerns, as we look forward to better days ahead for our people,” he said. (PNA)