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TAGUIG CITY, 1 JULY 2022 – The National Nutrition Council (NNC) held an online kick-off event for this year’s Nutrition Month campaign. July has been designated as Nutrition Month by President Ferdinand Marcos in 1974. Forty-eight years later, Nutrition Month is an institutionalized activity in the country. Despite the pandemic, various stakeholders led by the NNC continue to hold the month-long campaign to raise awareness on nutrition. This year’s campaign is guided by the theme, “New normal na nutrisyon, sama-samang gawan ng solusyon!” which calls for collective effort to improve nutrition and in building resilience among Filipinos for a better new normal. As the country moves towards a more COVID-19-resilient Philippines and transition to the new normal, the campaign for good nutrition in the new normal becomes more relevant than ever.

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Hosted by the Administrative Division, for the first time in two years, the resumption of the weekly face-to-face flag raising ceremony on Monday, 02 May 2022, became a meaningful assembly of about 70 NNC employees led by DED Rita D. Papey (Technical Service) and Atty. Faydah M. Dumarpa (Administrative and Finance Services). The singing of the Philippine National Anthem with fervor resounded in the NNC grounds which was further harmonized by the Panunumpa sa Watawat ng Pilipinas and the recital of the NNC Quality Policy.

2019 National Outstanding Barangay Nutrition Scholar
Aurelia O. Aguilar
Barangay Oaqui No. 3, Luna, La Union

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The Province of La Union lies in the northwestern section of Luzon, bounded by the sea and its neighboring provinces of Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, and Benguet. It is home to 1 component city and 19 municipalities, to which the Municipality of Luna lies within. Barangay Oaqui No. 3 is one of the 40 barangays of Luna, a predominantly plain land where farming of rice, corn, root crops, and vegetables is the most common livelihood. It is a small community with a total population of 738 in 166 households.

Barangay Nutrition Scholar (BNS) Aurelia O. Aguilar, a widow, a mother of an only son, and a loving grandmother to three grandchildren has been in voluntary service in Barangay Oaqui No. 3 since 2005. She finished her bachelor’s degree in Secretarial Administration at Manuel L. Quezon University and initially worked as a costing clerk and purchasing manager in a private company. Prior her stint as a BNS, she was assigned as Barangay Health Worker (BHW) in 2004 for the same barangay when her sister left the country to work abroad. A year later, the previous BNS also left the country, and was requested once again by the late Barangay Captain Mario N. Aragon to fill in the position. Though hesitant at first, she wholeheartedly took on the challenge.

2019 National Outstanding Municipal Nutrition Program Coordinator 
Bhen Zar M. Sam
Maco, Davao de Oro

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Communities thrive when leaders serve the people wholeheartedly. Such is the case of the Municipality of Maco which received the Consistent Regional Outstanding Winner in Nutrition (CROWN) Award in 2019. A first-class economic municipality, Maco is located along the coast of Davao Gulf, found about 12 kilometers from Tagum City. It has a total population of 70,930 in 2019, with 37 barangays and 19,025 households. The municipality acquires its earnings from the agricultural sector, such as crop, livestock, and poultry production.

The success of Maco’s nutrition programs can be attributed to its hardworking and reliable workforce. Mr. Bhen Zar M. Sam, or “Bentang” as he is usually called by his colleagues and friends, is the Municipal Nutrition Program Coordinator (MNPC) of Maco. With 13 outstanding years of government service, his humble beginnings as a utility worker enabled him to work his way up and become a midwife. Through the scholarship he received from the National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP), he was able to pursue and finish Bachelor of Science in Midwifery from 2014 to 2016 and passed the licensure examination in the succeeding year. This enabled him to challenge the norm by becoming the only male midwife in the municipality. Currently, he is taking a Master of Science in Public Health at the University of Visayas. His dedication and commitment at work made him a recipient of various prestigious awards, including the Civil Service Commission Pagasa Award in 2018 for serving the health and nutrition needs of Maco’s 37 barangays.