TWO local chief executives were recipients of the Sandugo Awards for their exemplary support for the blood donation program in their respective localities.

This was learned from Doctor Gloria dela Torre of the Department of Health (DOH) in Region III (Central Luzon) who is currently the vice president of the Pampanga Provincial Blood Council (PBC) and who previously served as Regional Blood Coordinator for many years.

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Dela Torre identified the awardees as Angeles City Mayor Francis "Blueboy" Nepomuceno and then Magalang town Mayor Lyndon B. Cunanan.

The awards were presented to them in rites held in Manila in July last year, dela Torre added.

She also said this was the second Sandugo award for Cunanan and the first for Nepomuceno.

"The selection committee for the awards selected them as awardees for having passed the criteria which centers on the LCEs' consistent and outstanding support for the blood donation program in their respective localities," dela Torre explained.

She added that the period covered by the assessment of the awardees is from July of the previous year to June of the succeeding year.

The evaluation team, composed of representatives from the DOH, Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) and the local blood council adjudged Nepomuceno and Cunanan as having satisfied the following criteria:

* The LGU has at least a total blood collection of 1 percent of its total population;

* The strong commitment and active involvement of the LCE in voluntary blood donation activities e.g. financial, material resources, snacks for donors, advocacy, and personal presence in related activities;

* Repeat donors should have contributed at least 10 percent of the total blood collection, indicating sustainability;

* Should have conducted at least 10 bloodletting activities for the year;

* Should have conducted at least 10 advocacy meetings, with proper documentation; and

* Should have come out in the media (radio, television, print) advocating bloodletting/donation.

The National Sandugo Awards has been around for about 10 years now and is urging more active involvement from various sectors, particularly local chief executives (LCEs), who may get the award during its annual conferment.

Dela Torre and other officers of the provincial blood council conduct regular advocacy activities in schools, factories, malls, training centers and give pep talks to try to erase the myths, misconceptions and fears among people regarding blood donation.

She revealed that the Pampanga Blood Council, with Gabriel Cruz as president and Governor Eddie T. Panlilio as chairman, is a multi-sectoral body that is in charge of all activities related to voluntary blood donation such as advocacy, fund-raising, and bloodletting which are taken care of by various committees.

Dela Torre, however, explained that for one to qualify as a blood donor, he or she should have the right pulse rate (60 to 90 beats per minute); blood pressure (not lower than 100/80, not higher than 130/90); hemoglobin count (125 mg/dcl); weight not below 50 kilos; and no history of cardiovascular illnesses, cancer, diabetes and the like).

It was also learned from dela Torre that the total blood needs of a barangay, town, city, province or country would amount to 1 percent of its total population.

It is necessary to continuously ensure that there is safe and clean blood supply that would answer the needs of the population, and eventually save lives, she concluded. (Eloisa P. Galang/Pampanga PIO)