by Blessy Bench Salvaña, HCDC Intern
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The National Nutrition Council (NNC) hailed the signing of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte of Republic Act 11037, also known as “Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act” which provides for the mandatory feeding in schools.
The principal author of the bill is Rep. Raul del Mar in 1st District, Cebu City, and this law is a consolidation of the House Bill No. 5269 and Senate Bill No.1279 which aims to combat and mitigate hunger among Filipino undernourished children.
At a press conference at the Royal Mandaya Hotel last Wednesday, Dr. Maria Teresa L. Ungson, NNC Head in Region 11 said “(A) lot of our children go to school without having eaten a decent breakfast at home.”
Such is the reality, especially in poor rural areas, she said.
She added that the law will help in ensuring that a school feeding program is in place where malnourished children are regularly fed at school and are able to gain enough weight and be healthy.
She said they had been pushing for the law’s passage but they had been deterred because there was no budget allotted for the school feeding program.
“We do see a lot of problems that might crop up if we do not help our malnourished school children. They drop out of school; they’re not able to concentrate in class. We want to build our future. They are our future leaders. These are the people who will serve our country so we want to build them, make them strong, intelligent citizens,” she pointed out.
As the Department of Education focuses on the feeding program, Ungson said, they are focusing more on the pregnant women because the nutrition of a child starts from the pregnancy of the mother.
“A woman has to be a healthy pregnant woman to be able to have a healthy child,” she added.
She said that the problem with nutrition cuts across a lot of sectors and cultures.
The law will also boost the school gardening program which could produce the raw vegetables to be cooked for the feeding program. (davaotoday.com)