PopDev Advocates Honor Memory of Filipino UN Executive

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Press Release

Former President Fidel V. Ramos and other advocates of population and sustainable development came together for a friendly golf game named after Rafael M. Salas, a Filipino and first Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The Rafael M. Salas Cup is an event organized annually by the Forum for Family Planning and Development (The Forum) since 2008. This year, it was held at the Riviera Golf and Country Club, Silang, Cavite.

Rafael M. Salas is known as Mr. Population and served as the first Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with the rank of U.N. Under-Secretary General from its establishment in 1969 until his death in 1987. From a one room office with two staff, Rafael Salas transformed his unit into what is now the United Nations Population Fund. Under his leadership, UNFPA became the world’s largest source of population assistance and he elevated population issues into a global concern. Today UNFPA is one of the main agencies of the United Nations. Before joining the UN, Salas served as the Executive Secretary to former President Ferdinand Marcos and is considered the best administrator of his time. But conflict in principles, prompted Salas to resign from his post in the Marcos government.

During his term as Executive Secretary, he recruited the best and brightest young men and women to serve government. They were collectively known as “Salas Boys,” and many have become high ranking officials and successful individuals in their own right. Mr. Benjamin de Leon, President of The Forum is a Salas Boy as well as Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Cong. Edcel Lagman, former Executive Secretary Ruben Torres, former Supreme Court Justice Leo Quisumbing, former Agrarian Reform Secretary Boy Morales and former DENR Secretary Victor Ramos among others.

“So many improvements in population and development policies have been implemented by governments around the world because of the pioneering works of Mr. Salas. Through his efforts, there is now an agency of the United Nations making sure that the interests of each and every individual is not lost in the discussions on world and state policies on population, health, environment and sustainable development because people matter and everyone counts.” De Leon said.

The promotion of the right to Reproductive Health information and services is also a main thrust of UNFPA. Currently, at least six RH Bills are being reviewed at the House of Representatives including the H.B. 96 by Cong. Lagman and the Senate version authored by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.

“The RH Bill has always been supported by a majority of Filipinos and we are seeing an increasing number of supporters from among our legislators.” De Leon added.#

For interviews and further information, please contact Chi Laigo Vallido at 426-5484; 0918-9443850.

Ms. Chi Laigo Vallido
Advocacy Specialist
Forum for Family Planning and Development, Inc.
305 Bahay ng Alumni, Magsaysay Ave.
University of the Philippines,
Diliman, Quezon City
632-426-5484; 0918-9443850

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