Results of the 34th NSM Essay Writing Contest for College Students

By Dr. Rex Casiple

“Imagine living in a country where healthcare decisions are made with great care, where diseases are actively prevented, where every citizen’s health and wellbeing are prioritized, and where Filipinos aren’t left hungry.

In the Philippines, a country of over 110 million people, such a vision is achievable but it depends on several significant data and statistics. The question is can we truly accelerate progress towards a healthier Philippines by promoting data and statistics?

Data and statistics are more than just numbers.  They are the heartbeat of an efficient and effective healthcare system. For instance, according to the United Nations agency, 1,458 women died of maternal causes in 2019 which increased to 2,478 in 2021. With these data in mind, the Department of Health and the World Health Organization are accelerating their efforts to improve maternal health in the Philippines through the Subnational Initiative with the support coming from the Republic of Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency. Indeed, by being aware of these numbers, health professionals can create strategic initiatives to reduce maternal mortality rates.”

This is the portion of a winning piece of Mr. Arnil L. Justo of Philippine Normal University Visayas, entitled Data and Statistics: The Bridge Towards a Healthier and Progressive Philippines, 1st Place in the 34th National Statistics Month (NSM) celebration Essay Writing Contest for College Students chair by the Commission on Higher Education Regional Office VI (CHEDRO VI) on October 2, 2023 to October 16, 2023.

The 2nd Place winner was Mr. Jerwin A. Granja of Iloilo State University of Fisheries, Science and Technology – San Enrique Campus (ISUFST-San Enrique). The title of his essay is “Unsung Heroes and Unassuming Numbers: Driving the Philippines to a Healthier Future”.

The 3rd place winner was Joanna Wayne Horneja of West Visayas State University. The title of her essay is “Never Mere Numbers: The Pulse of a Nations Progress”. The three winners received cash awards plus trophies and certificates.

The 34th NSM Essay Writing Contest for College Students was conducted by the CHEDRO VI, in coordination with the Philippine Statistics Authority Region 6 (PSA 6) and Philippine Statistical Association, Inc. Region VI Chapter (PSAI6). It was a region-wide contest open to all college students enrolled in public and private colleges and universities in the Region.

The contest was participated by fifty three (53) eligible contestants coming from fifteen (15) higher education institutions in the Region: Binalbagan Catholic College; Philippine Normal University; STI-West Negros University; Iloilo State University of Fisheries, Science and Technology – Main; Iloilo State University of Fisheries, Science and Technology – San Enrique Campus; Northern Negros State College of Science and Technology; Central Philippine University; Southland College; Filamer Christian University; Iloilo Science and Technology University – Miagao Campus; University of San Agustin; West Visayas State University; Tañon College; University of Saint La Salle; and University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos.

The members of the Board of Judges were Engr. Ray Adrian Macalalag, Senior Economic Development Specialist, NEDA VI; Montesa Griño Caoyonan, 4Ps Information Officer, DSWD VI (Former local Newspaper Writer/Reporter); Marlene Alviar, Chief Statistical Specialist, Statistical Operations and Coordination Division, PSA VI; and Dr. Rex C. Casiple, Chief Education Program Specialist, CHEDRO VI and Chairman, 34th NSM Essay Writing Contest for College Students

The winning contestants received their awards on October 26, 2023 during the Closing Ceremonies of the 34th National Statistics Month Celebration.


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