L to R: POPCOM’s Deputy Executive Director Bhoyet Tacardon, Usec. Juan Antonio A. Perez III, Commissioner Dexter Galban award the cash prize, plaque and certificate of recognition to LGU San Carlos City with VM Joseres Resuello, City Population Officer Dr. Luisa Cayabyab, General Services Officer Lourdes R. Pinto, POPDEV Focal Kirby Cayabyab along with POPCOM I Regional Director Erma R. Yapit and Project Evaluation Officer Roy Gerson B. Torres.

The City of San Carlos in Pangasinan was awarded the First Place for the Population and Development (POPDEV) Integration City Category of the 2022 National Kaunlarang Pantao Award held on June 23, 2022 at the Hotel Lucky China Town, Binondo, Manila. The award manifested the effective response of the local government unit in addressing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by generating and utilizing timely, comprehensive and reliable population and development data and information.

In his acceptance speech, Vice Mayor Joseres Resuello thanked the POPCOM family for a noble undertaking of recognizing all the local efforts in pursuing the population and development programs despite the hurdles of the pandemic. “San Carlos city is the biggest in terms of population sa buong Region 1. We really focused on population program and hopefully ma-achieve ang general objective of our city–for our people to be independent sa kani-kanilang mga bahay, tao na hindi umaasa sa kahit sino, tao na kayang mabuhay na kahit walang tumutulong sa kanya, that is our goal. With the help of the government, siguro unti-unti maaachieve natin, healthy family, healthy community, healthy city,” he added.

VM Resuello, together with the City Population Officer Dr. Luisa F. Cayabyab, General Services Officer Lourdes R. Pinto, City POPDEV Focal Kirby Cayabyab and POPCOM I Regional Director Erma R. Yapit with Project Evaluation Officer I Roy Gerson B. Torres, received onstage the plaque, certificate of recognition, and cash prize amounting to P200,000.

Other LGUs from region 1 which were nominated for their exemplary contributions to the Philippine Population and Development Program (PPDP) were as follows: Alcala, Anda, San Jacinto and the City of Dagupan in Pangasinan.

POPCOM Undersecretary Juan Antonio A. Perez III underscored the important contribution of these local partners for the protection and promotion of the overall development of our society’s basic element—the Filipino family. He expressed his appreciation to the POPCOM’s partners in the municipalities and cities nationwide who were resolute about the importance of the program that was positively affecting the quality of life of their citizenry and communities even with the pandemic at the midst.

Formerly known as the Rafael M. Salas Population and Development Awards, the Kaunlarang Pantao Awards (KPA) or the Search for Outstanding Local Government Units (LGUs) in Advancing the Population and Development (POPDEV) Program aims to recognize the efforts and initiatives of the LGUs in advancing various Philippine Population and Development Program (PPDP) strategies. This year’s awards were a testament of individual and collective commitments of partners on the grounds to the PPDP by which the legacy and memories of Rafael M. Salas, “Mr. Population,” lives on.

Usec. Perez further urged the national awardees to replicate and extend the invaluable benefits of developing our population which Mr. Salas used to preach during his various tints serving in the Philippine government and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Local leaders must also perpetuate their services to the families and communities for inclusive growth and development of the country as these recognitions need to be sustained and serve as an inspiration for the entire region. (by: Mae Grace M. Ariola and Maria Cristina F. Martinez)