National Nutrition Council (NNC) and Local Government Academy (LGA) sign a three-year partnership agreement to strengthen capacities of local government units (LGUs) towards nutrition improvement. (Marie Joy S. Carbungco/PIA-3)
By Marie Joy S. Carbungco

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga (PIA) – National Nutrition Council (NNC) signed a three-year partnership agreement with the Local Government Academy (LGA) to strengthen capacities of local government units (LGUs) towards nutrition improvement.

NNC Assistant Secretary and Executive Director Azucena Dayanghirang said there is a need to formalize the said partnership to capacitate LGUs to bring nutrition to the forefront of development.

“Both the LGA and the NNC are committed to the goal of eliminating all forms of malnutrition by 2030, consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals…That is why we have sought the LGA to support us in capacitating local chief executives and local government functionaries to ensure that we are able to reach all the LGUs since they are the implementers of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) through their Local Nutrition Action Plans (LNAPs),” she said.

The director also cited that the next two years will be critical for nutrition since this is the time that the successor PPAN for 2023-2028 will be developed.

For her part, LGA Executive Director Thelma Vecina committed to work with NNC to combat malnutrition and contribute to the achievement of a strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life for all Filipinos.

She said it is time to act collectively to address malnutrition, citing that the LGA believes that by engaging local chief executives (LCEs), they have more chances to eradicate this and to make their strategies and actions better than the previous years.

She also stressed the crucial role of LCEs in ensuring that nutrition programs are institutionalized in the local government since they [LCEs] are in the most strategic position to influence nutrition efforts.

Under the partnership agreement, both the NNC and LGA commit to influence the local government sector to prioritize nutrition agenda in local planning and budgeting; enhance the capacities of the local government sector to implement and manage nutrition policies, programs, and activities; and harmonize the provision of nutrition-related capacity development interventions for the LGUs in light of the full devolution.

Among the collaborative work they will implement is through the online program for the newly elected officials wherein they plan to touch base with them so that they will include nutrition in their priority executive and legislative agenda.

“This partnership also includes a series of online executive sessions to equip the local chief executives with the knowledge and skills towards nutrition program management. We will make use of peer-to-peer learning for governors or mayors from LGUs that are well-performing in nutrition so that they will be able to share their experiences with their fellow local chief executives,” Dayanghirang said.

They will also employ different modalities such as sharing of knowledge, products, data sharing and module development, as well as shepherding project and Learning Hub for Enhanced and Revitalized Nutrition (LHEARN) Program where a high performing LGU mentors a low performing LGU by sharing their good practices in nutrition program management.

With this, Vecina also urged LGUs to take advantage of the impact of full devolution since studies suggest that higher level of nutrition investments, as well as adequate domestic financing for nutrition-related programs are critical to address malnutrition. (CLJD/MJSC/PIA-3)