The City of Koronadal and the Municipality of Polomolok in South Cotabato were declared by the Regional Board of Judges (RBOJ) as   winners of the 2014 Rafael M. Salas Population and Development Award (RMSPDA) for  City and Municipality categories, respectively.

The  winning  entries will   be   Region  XII’s entries  to the national level  judging.  They  bested four LGU contenders, namely:  (a) Kidapawan and General Santos for the City category, and  (b)  Isulan, Sultan Kudarat and Tupi, South Cotabato, for the Municipality category.

The regional winners for each category will  receive  PhP50,000 each, while plaques of recognition will be awarded to  other regional nominees by the Commission on Population (POPCOM) during the regional awarding ceremonies that will be held  in July 2015.

The top  6  regional nominees were evaluated and ranked by the RBOJ based on  selected indicators by  the DILG and DOH  scorecards  as well as on PopDev core elements.  To validate the scores,  a field visit was conducted  to  the 6  regional nominees.

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

The RMSPDA was first launched by POPCOM in 1989, and has been held every other year, to  continue  the legacy and important contributions of Rafael M. Salas in the field of population and development.  Meanwhile, the biennial RMSPDA is designed to honor individuals, institutions, LGUs  or local chief executives for their outstanding contributions in the field of population and development.  The award 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 specific category or theme.

For this year, the RMS PopDev Award will be conferred to LGU (city and municipality) with  outstanding PopDev-oriented programs and projects or innovations.

The RBOJ of Region XII is composed of representatives from five agencies namely:  DOH, DILG, NEDA, PhilHealth and POPCOM, with DOH XII Assistant Regional Director Francisco Mateo, as Chair.

At the national level, the NBOJ will choose the top three cities and  three  municipalities  among all  regional entries and will conduct field visit and validation only for the chosen six national

The  national level grand winners for each category will receive PhP200,000 each, while the 2nd and 3rd place awardees will each receive PhP150,000 and PhP100,000, respectively, for each category.  The RMSPDA National Awarding ceremonies is scheduled on August 6, 2015.

Atty. Rafael M. Salas, who hailed from Negros Occidental, was the first Executive Director and founder of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) that was established in 1969 in New York. He died in 1987 at the age of 59 due to heart attack .  He was best remembered for his trailblazing work, earning him the title “Mr. Population” from the international community.  He was considered as the founder of the holistic population management program  that was accepted in all countries  with Christian or even Islam faith.