LYDIO M. ESPAÑOL, JR., MSES, DPM, CESE

Regional Director
POPCOM-NCR

Year 2021 was a triumphant year for most of us. We may still be reeling from the effects brought about by COVID-19 that has already claimed lives and we may have yet to adjust to many changes brought about by the health restrictions, however, there were still breakthroughs and progress.

POPCOM-NCR has remained resolute in delivering the Philippine Population and Development Program to the Metro Manila residents. In spite of the many limitations and health and safety protocols to be followed, we have again proven that service to Pilipino people can still be prioritized.

Metro Manila is home to around 13.5 million people and millions more of those in nearby regions also work in the region. For the past two years, NCR was the epicenter of most covid surges, it was greatly affected by different COVID-19 restrictions and imposition of varying alert level status, creating a huge effect on the country’s economy as well as disruption in health services. Every time a new variant is detected, and new health interventions were imposed such as vaccination and swab tests roll-outs, NCR is the first to experience and adopt to new changes thus requiring a great deal of adjustment as well on our part.

Despite the many limitations and shifting of priorities of most LGUs, where less focus was given to population and development-related programs particularly on demand generation and service delivery, POPCOM-NCR has continued to innovate and depend on the power of digital technology in reaching out to Metro Manila residents. POPCOM-NCR also has further strengthened partnerships with the LGUs and Civil Society Organizations for the conduct of demand-generation activities as well as we have maximized every opportunity to reach out to people.

And as we begin 2022 with more news on new variants and restrictions, the regional office reiterates its firm commitment of strengthening the programs thereby achieving the goals of the PPDP through the localization process. With the Mandana’s ruling, we see an opportunity to strengthen and improve that capacity of our localities in delivering the PPDP to Pilipino families and communities.

We see this as an opportune time to start negotiating with LGUs to invest in better and stronger health care services particularly reproductive health and population related issues concerns.

2022 is definitely a year of transition – a transition to a new administration, a shift to the localization process as well as transitioning to a better perspective for each us. With this, we wish everyone a better and stronger year ahead. ###