The Quezon City government, along with five other cities, has received the Circle of Excellence Award from an international organization for its outstanding COVID-19 response.

Mayor Joy Belmonte received the award from the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) during the Fast-Track Cities 2022 conference at the Real (Royal) Alcázar in Sevilla, Spain.

The International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) and the Fast-Track Cities Institute (FTCi) selected Quezon City following a rigorous nomination process and subsequent deliberations, in consultation with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Apart from Quezon City, five other cities received the award namely: Amsterdam, New York, Kingston, Johannesburg and Lagos.

100% Life, a Ukrainian community-based organization, also received the “Community Leadership Award” for its efforts during the ongoing war in Ukraine, and in helping Ukrainians living with and affected by HIV.

“We dedicate this award to our healthcare workers and other frontliners who have put their lives on the line to address the needs of QCitizens during the pandemic,” said Belmonte.

“This is a validation of their hard work and the effectiveness of our COVID-19 response, especially in the delivery of basic services to the people,” added the Mayor, who also gave a brief remark to underscore Quezon City’s commitment to the Fast-Track Cities goals, objectives, and targets.

Belmonte also served as one of the panelists during the conference, tackling various issues on migrant workers and healthcare.

Aside from Belmonte, other local officials from Sevilla (Spain), Bangkok (Thailand), Kingston (Jamaica), Gaborone (Botswana), Kyiv (Ukraine) Blantyre (Malawi), Libreville (Gabon), and Texas (United States of America) also served as panelists.

The city mayor also pledged the city government’s commitment to the “Sevilla Declaration on the Centrality of Communities in Urban HIV, TB, and Viral Hepatitis Responses.”

The signing seeks to ensure that communities are at the heart of efforts by the local government to attain the Sustainable Development Goals associated with ending HIV and TB, and eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030, by exhibiting strong political will, promoting community engagement, implementing innovative programs, and providing financial resources and legislative support.

“The signing seals our commitment to provide a whole-of-city, integrated approach aligned with national and international initiatives to end TB, HIV and viral hepatitis. We will allot more time and resources to help vulnerable sectors to ensure a healthier community,” Belmonte said.

The Mayor earlier appointed Vice Mayor Gian Sotto and Councilor Alex Bernard Herrera as acting Mayor and Vice Mayor, respectively to run the city’s affairs on her behalf while she’s out of the country.

“They will supervise the city’s operational and administrative matters under their jurisdictions, except for matters related to policy making,” Belmonte said in a memorandum.