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Hon. Liwayway Caramat, Mayor of Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya commits full support of LGU Santa Fe in implementing nutrition programs, particularly the Asin Law (RA 8172) during the visit of Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Meggie Matammu Lonzaga and FDA Director for North Luzon Cluster, Mr. Gomel Gabuna last 10 August 2022. The group discussed strategies on how to strengthen the Regional Bantay Asin Task Force and the Asin Checkpoint situated in their municipality. The team was also joined by DNPC Ruben Ambatali and Mr. Orlando Pitchay, Provincial Consultant who oversees the Bantay Asin Checkpoint in Santa Fe and Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya.

Dir. Gabuna shared his vision for the Regional Bantay Asin Task Force in the region, particularly in Santa Fe including the digitalization of the systems, records, and tracking of shipments, enhancing existing local ordinances on salt iodization and checkpoints, provision of salt iodizing machine for LGUs, and a regionwide conference of the North Cluster group on Salt Iodization Program. He also shared that Representative Ron Salo of KABAYAN Partylist is set to review the RA 8172.

Furthermore, RNPC Lonzaga advocated to strengthen nutrition programs in the municipality and for the creation of nutrition officer position in the municipality. Mayor Caramat shared that they will create permanent positions for nutrition as it is included in their devolution transition plan but for the meantime, they will hire job order personnels while waiting for the approval.

Finally, the NNC Region 02 staff and Nutrition Office of Nueva Vizcaya monitored the Bantay Asin Checkpoint in Santa Fe. Mr. Orlando Pitchay received the supplies and materials from NNC and requested for computer laptops for the checkpoint which RNPC Lonzaga happily committed. It was noted that shipments of salt had been declining ever since the pandemic. Mr. Pitchay, together with the regional bantay asin task force will tackle concerns and issues during the 3rd RBATF meeting scheduled in September 2022. – Edzell M. Arcinue