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Guest speakers of the Nutrition Stakeholders’ Forum and Planning Workshop for Nutrition in Emergencies answer questions15-16 July 2014 – Inspite of raised typhoon signals caused by typhoon Glenda, the National Nutrition Council-MIMAROPA together with the Health and Emergency Management Staff – Department of Health (HEMS-DOH) MIMAROPA, pushed through with the Nutrition Stakeholders’ Forum and Planning Workshop for Nutrition in Emergencies at the Atrium Hotel, A. Luna cor. Taft Avenue and Gil Puyat Avenue, Pasay City. As one of the Regional Nutrition Month Activities of MIMAROPA, it aimed to equip our health and nutrition workers with knowledge to coordinate, mobilize and assist our local personnel in planning for occurrence of unwanted calamities and disasters in MIMAROPA Region, particularly on Nutrition in Emergencies. Eighty-nine (89) participants attended the activity with representatives from the Regional Nutrition Committee, Local Government Units such as Provincial/Municipal Nutrition Action Officers, District/City Nutrition Program Coordinators, Planning Officers and Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officers, and media practitioners.

With the objective to impart valuable knowledge through fact-based studies and experiences that will initiate creation of an effective Disaster Preparedness and Nutrition Response plan for every provinces and municipalities of MIMAROPA Region, a number of resource persons were invited to discuss the different facts and phases of Disaster Preparedness and Nutrition Response. Resource speakers include (1) Ms. Nieves Bonifacio, Office of the Civil Defense-MIMAROPA Training Officer; (2) Mr. Ramonito Martin, Health Emergency Management Staff-DOH MIMAROPA Regional Coordinator; (3) Ms. Margarita DC Enriquez, NPPD-NNC Central Office Nutrition Officer; (4) Mr. Alessandro Iellamo, UNICEF Consultant; (5) Dr. Amado Parawan, Save the Children Foundation Coordinator; (6) Mr. Dominik Koeppl, UNICEF Information Management Officer; and (7) Ms. Teresita Silo-Ramos, Laguna Provincial Nutrition Action Officer. 

Highlights of event were discussions on the Philippine Disaster Situation; Republic Act 10121 otherwise known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, which provides the legal basis for policies, plans and programs to deal with disasters; Risk Maps available in MIMAROPA; Overview of the Health Emergency Management System; The Nutrition Cluster – Roles and Function; Minimum Service Package during emergencies; and sharing of experiences and expertise on preparedness during disaster and calamities that focused on emergency response for Typhoon Yolanda, Infant and Young Child Feeding Issues during Emergencies, Information Management during Typhoon Yolanda and Laguna’s Local Government Unit Preparedness and Response during Habagat.

Result of the discussions led to participating 33 Local Government Units to draft their Disaster Preparedness and Nutrition Response Plan with the following agreements: a) organize Local Nutrition Clusters as part of their Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Committee (DRRMC) and b) integrate their finalized Disaster Preparedness and Nutrition Response Plan to the Local DRRMC Plan.

OIC-RNPC Santiago believes that this activity is part of MIMAROPA’s initiative to ensure that all LGUs in MIMAROPA will be prepared for Nutrition in Emergencies. As parting words for all the participants, she encouraged everyone to mobilize resources effectively and comprehensively manage the local nutrition clusters using a timely, accurate, and reliable plan for nutrition in emergencies to help ensure that the nutritional status of affected populations, especially the vulnerable group e.g. infants, young children, elderly, pregnant and lactating women, will not worsen.