ZAMBOANGA City Mayor Celso Lobregat and two village chiefs received Thursday the National Sandugo Award for Outstanding Local Government Executives making them three-time hall of famers.

Lobregat, with the latest award he received, became the only awardee under the high-ranking government official category in Zamboanga Peninsula.

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Now on its 12th year, the National Sandugo Award, is an initiative of the National Center for Health Facility Development of the Department of Health (DOH) for local government executives who have shown support and commitment to the National Voluntary Blood Services Program (NVBSP).

The awarding rite, presided by Health Undersecretary Crisanta Abesamis, was held at the Heritage Hotel in Pasay City.

The two village chiefs who were conferred with the 5th Sandugo Award were Felipe Natividad and Josephine Pareja of Tetuan and Talisayan, respectively.

Natividad and Pareja is also three-time hall of famers like Lobregat.

Ever since he started his term as mayor, Lobregat has been very supportive of the plans and programs of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC). He is a second term governor of the PNRC.

The assistance comes in the form of trainings and resources to ensure the smooth operation of the local blood bank.

Lobregat said he shares the award to all the members of the local Red Cross.

He expressed elation over the recognition from the DOH and vowed to continuously pursue his commitment to the blood program.

Joining Lobregat in Manila during the awarding ceremony were PNRC-Zamboanga City Chapter Administrator Victor Liozo, Jr. and officials from the DOH regional office.

Other Zamboanga Peninsula awardees were Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur Municipal Mayor Francisco Oraiz, Jr., who received his first Sandugo Award and Joel Japon, village chief of Oroquieta, Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur, who also got his first award.

The National Sandugo Award for Local Government Executives is bestowed on a provincial governor, city mayor, municipal mayor or village chief who gave outstanding support, commitment and active involvement in the promotion of voluntary blood donation towards the achievement of the vision of Republic Act 7719 or the "National Blood Services Act of 1994."

Specific criteria to the awards include personal involvement and commitment in the NVBSP, provision of resources in the promotion of voluntary blood donation, being instrumental for the high percentage of voluntary blood donation in his jurisdiction, which includes blood collected by government and private hospital, PNRC blood center, local health services and non-government organizations (NGOs), and exemplary administrative actions in support of NVBSP such as issuances within the last five years.

The awards is in line with the advocacy for voluntary blood donation, which was enhanced by the enactment of RA 7719 that mobilized national agencies and private organizations to promote voluntary blood donation and collect the lifesaving fluid. (Bong Garcia)