HONORED. The town of Lambunao received the Outstanding Municipality for Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning category during the 2022 National Kaunlarang Pantao Award (Rafael M. Salas Population and Development Award) of the Commission on Population and Development held at the Hotel Lucky China Town in Binondo, Manila on Thursday (June 23, 2022). The national award gives recognition to local government units for their initiatives on population and development amid the health pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Vice Mayor Arvin Losaria)

ILOILO CITY – Four local government units (LGUs) in Iloilo and Antique on Thursday received national awards for promoting population and development programs amid the health pandemic.

The grand awardees for the 2022 National Kaunlarang Pantao Award (Rafael M. Salas Population and Development Award) given by Commission on Population and Development included Lambunao, Iloilo as an Outstanding Municipality for Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning category; Libertad, Antique as an Outstanding Municipality for Population and Development Integration; and Iloilo City as an Outstanding City for Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning category.

The town of Dueñas, Iloilo ranked second as an Outstanding Municipality For Adolescent Health and Development category.

“The basis was how we advanced population and development program during the pandemic, how we reach out to our constituencies, particularly on the aspect of responsible parenthood and family planning program,” said Lambunao Vice-Mayor Arvin Losaria who represented Mayor Reynor Gonzales during the awarding ceremony at the Hotel Lucky China Town in Binondo, Manila on Thursday afternoon.

The initiatives introduced by Lambunao resulted in a drop in its total fertility rate from 1.3 percent to 1.2 percent, its teenage births declined by 19 percent, and 4,000 women were provided with programs on responsible parenthood and family planning.

The municipality has recorded 101 teenage pregnancies in 2019, 94 in 2020, and 72 last year.

The vice-mayor said that barangay service point officers conducted house-to-house visits to reach out to their target clients despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) threat.

Couples planning to get married also need to undergo pre-marriage counseling with the population office to talk about family planning and how to be responsible parents.

“One of the factors is the conducive atmosphere in the municipality, particularly on the transacting clients where their needs are immediately addressed,” Losaria added.

Lambunao LGU received a plaque and certificate of recognition and PHP200,000 that will be used for population and development programs.

Joining Losaria during the awarding ceremony were former Lambunao mayor and now Iloilo 3rd district Board Member Jason Gonzales, Sangguniang Bayan (SB) chairperson of the Committee on Women and Family Member Mary Grace Navarra-Suganob, SB chairperson of the Committee on Health Lemie S. Leonida, and Municipal Population Program Officer Connie E. Gerardino. (PNA)