NNC MIMAROPA  OIC Carina Santiago speaking during the Regional Nutrition Committee meeting last  July 31, 2014The Regional Bantay Asin Task Force (BATF) conducted its first meeting for the year during a back-to-back meeting with the Regional Nutrition Committee on 31 July 2014 at the Fersal Hotel, P. Tuazon Blvd., Quezon City.  Updates on the planned activities were discussed including its technical assistance to the Bantay Asin Task Force of Occidental Mindoro which was organized in April 2014. A draft Executive Order creating the task force citing its composition and functions is now in the process of approval. OIC Carina Santiago emphasized that the Regional BATF should work hand-in-hand with the Provincial BATF of Occidental Mindoro for the continued progress of the National Salt Iodization program in the province, which is also seen to subsequently help local salt producers in the region.

The Regional BATF of MIMAROPA recognizes the important role that the province plays in country’s fight against Iodine Deficiency Disorders since Occidental Mindoro is among the major salt-producing provinces in the country. Hence, the Regional BATF pledged to provide continuous technical assistance to the Provincial BATF of Occidental Mindoro, the first province-level watchdog organized in the region to monitor and assure the successful implementation of the National Salt Iodization program.

Last 30 April 2014, Governor Gene Mendiola himself catalyzed the creation of the Provincial BATF during a meeting with concerned national government agencies, non-government organizations, and local salt producers and distributors. Amidst apprehension and reluctance among salt producers and distributors, and even local officials, Gov. Mendiola insisted on abiding to the Asin Law. “We already have a law that mandates the iodization of salt and we have to follow”, were his words. Gov. Mendiola also asked for local support from the municipalities of San Jose and Magsaysay, two of the top salt-producing municipalities in the province, through the creation of municipal-level Bantay Asin Task Force. Mr. Voltaire Dequina, President of PROMO Nutri Com, the region’s local media arm in promoting good nutrition, sworn to also help in the province’s advocacy to create awareness and demand for Iodized salt.

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.

Constituents of the municipality of Mogpog hold a banner welcoming NNC evaluation teamLast year, the municipality of Mogpog won the Consistent Regional Outstanding Winner in Nutrition (CROWN) Award. The CROWN award is given to a municipality, city or province that has been adjudged by the interagency regional nutrition evaluation team as outstanding in the region in the implementation of its nutrition action plan for three years. This year, Mogpog is vying for its 1st Year CROWN Maintenance Award. A total score of 90 will be needed by Mogpog to attain its 1stYear CROWN Maintenance Award.

The National Evaluation Team, composed of Nutrition Officer II Ms. Jomarie L. Tongol of Nutrition Surveillance Division and Nutrition Officer II Mr. Julius Cesar P. Alejandre of Nutrition Policy and Planning Division of the National Nutrition Council, and Hapag-asa Coordinator Ms. Azucena Banga of San Pablo Apostol Archdiocese of Manila, together with Officer-In-Charge Carina Z. Santiago and Nutrition Officer III Donnah May S. Guevarra of the National Nutrition Council – MIMAROPA and Regional Nutrition Evaluation Team Chair Lorenzo F. Suarez of the Department of Interior and Local Government IV-B assessed the efficiency and effectiveness of the Municipal Plan of Action for Nutrition implementation in the municipality of Mogpog, Marinduque last 24-28 March 2014.

Validation visits to barangays Hinadharan, Sayao, Magapua, Ino, and Janagdong, review of documents, and interview and dialogue with the officials and Barangay and Municipal Nutrition Committee were conducted by the National Evaluation Team. To end the evaluation, the National Evaluation Team, shared some observations in the implementation of the municipality's nutrition program and gave suggestions and recommendations to further improve the its nutrition program.

The National Evaluation Team is set to finalize the score sheets and deliberate the results on 1st week of September for approval of the National Nutrition Council Technical Committee. The National Nutrition Awarding Ceremony will be held on 23 October 2014 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

Participants of Palawan Nutrition Stakeholders’ Forum pose for photo last  April 28, 2014PROMO Nutri Com, the local media group of MIMAROPA, together with NNC – MIMAROPA, conducted the Palawan Nutrition Stakeholders’ Forum at The Bayleaf Hotel, Intramuros, Manila last 28th of April 2014. The activity aimed to converge Palaweños’ efforts to fight malnutrition. A total of 78 participants came consisting of 3 Regional Directors namely Dir. Eduardo C. Janairo of Department of Health (DOH), Dir. Cristina Castillo of Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and Dir. Ma. Josefina P. Abilay of Department of Science and Technology (DOST); 10 Municipal Mayors from Palawan; 16 Regional Nutrition Committee representatives; World Vision Representative; Provincial Government of Palawan Representatives including the Provincial Nutrition Action Officer (PNAO), Provincial Social Welfare Development Officer (PSWDO), Medical Nutrition Program Coordinator (MNPC); 11 Municipal Nutrition Action Officers; 3 Municipal Health Officers (MHOs); and 20 other Local Government Unit (LGU) representatives.

Highlights of the said event were the presentation of the nutrition situation of Palawan, delivered by Dr. Louie R. Ocampo, MNPC, and the different nutrition programs done to address nutrition problems reported by PNAO Rachel T. Paladan, and the expression and signing of commitments of local chief executives, national government agencies, and other nutrition stakeholders in support of nutrition programs.

Moreover, to boost up and inspire the Palawan’s nutrition stakeholders and leaders, Hon. Mayor Lucena D. Demaala of Narra, Palawan, the Outstanding Municipality in Palawan from 2010 to 2012, and Hon. Mayor Senen M. Livelo Jr., together with MHO Dr. Edzel L. Muhi of Mogpog, Marinduque, 2010 CROWN (Consistent Regional Outstanding Winner in Nutrition) Awardee, had a chance to speak and share their good practices in their own municipalities.

With the belief that fight against malnutrition needs to be intensified, Dir. Abilay showed support by discussing updates on DOST’s initiatives in combating malnutrition in MIMAROPA that includes regional roll-out and feeding  implementation of complementary baby food (instant baby food and snack food) developed by FNRI-DOST.

In addition to this, OIC-RNPC Santiago reminded the honorable mayors about their important role as leaders and provider of overall direction essential to fully realize Palawan’s Municipal Nutrition Action Plans that will make them a true nutrition champion. Furthermore, Nutrition Officer III Donnah May S. Guevarra discussed and stressed out the Ten (10) Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos that reminded all nutrition stakeholders about the basic nutrition information and related interventions to address malnutrition.

To complement all encouragement given to Palaweños, Dir. Janairo, Chair of Regional Nutrition Committee, stated his support by inspiring everyone to never lose hope in fighting malnutrition problem. He also emphasized that unless man is properly nourished, he will not become a nation’s asset. Other nutrition partners who gave statement of support are LGUs through Hon. Mayor Lucena D. Demaala, President of League of Municipalities of the Philippines – Palawan Chapter, media through Mr. Voltaire N. Dequina, President of PROMO Nutri Com, and NGOs through Ms. Marijo S. Gomez, Health Nutrition Specialist of World Vision.

Hereunder is the list of names of Mayors and Vice Mayor who actively participated in the said forum:

Hon. Lucena D. Demaala

Narra, Palawan

Hon. Jessie F. Del Prado

Linapacan, Palawan

Hon. Ronilo B. Caputilla

Quezon, Palawan

Hon. Marsito C. Acoy

S. Española, Palawan

Hon. Sue S. Cudilla

Araceli, Palawan

Hon. Atty. Mary Jean D. Feliciano

Brooke’s Point, Palawan

Hon. Romy L. Salvame

Taytay, Palawan

Hon. Rommel L. Dela Torre

Magsaysay, Palawan

Hon. Senen M. Livelo

Mogpog, Palawan

Hon. Edna G. Lim

El Nido, Palawan

Hon. Emil T. Neri (Vice Mayor)

Linapacan, Palawan

Carina Santiago of NNC MIMAROPA, shaking hands with Dr. Eduardo  JanairoFebruary 2014 – Together with the staff of DOH Regional Office-MIMAROPA, OIC Carina Z. Santiago of National Nutrition Council–MIMAROPA, bade goodbye to Director Ariel I. Valencia, MD, MPH, CESO III and welcomed Dr. Eduardo C. Janairo, MD, MPH, CESO III as the new DOH Regional Director  for MIMAROPA.  OIC Santiago expressed her gratitude to outgoing Director Valencia, who took the lead as Regional Nutrition Committee Chair last year. It was a fruitful partnership with the outgoing director as many activities, programs and resolutions were done and passed.

In particular, Regional Development Council No. 045-296-2013 was passed last year through the efforts of the outgoing director. The resolution seeks for His Excellency President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, the secretaries of the Department of Budget and Management, Department of Health and National Nutrition Council to recognize MIMAROPA as a regular region and to provide the requirements for a separate agency regional office of National Nutrition Council with full staff complement and budget for personal services and maintenance and other operating expenses in 2014 and onwards. 

Thrilled for a fresh start, OIC Santiago expects a strong partnership and support from the new director as jam-packed activities and programs are in-line for the whole year to combat and end malnutrition in the region.  

OIC Carina Z. Santiago of NNC–MIMAROPA speaking on Program Implementation Review7-8 April 2014 - Selected Provincial/Municipal Nutrition Action Officers, District Nutrition Program Coordinators, Medical Nutrition Program Coordinator, Midwives and Barangay Nutrition Scholar attended the program implementation review of Promote Good Nutrition program at the Makati Palace Hotel, Makati City. 

In 2007, the National Nutrition Council launched the Promote Good Nutrition program which aims to improve the food and nutrition knowledge, attitude and practices of families through conduct of trainings on Infant and Young Child Feeding and Pabasa sa Nutrisyon for community-based implementers as well as distribution of IEC materials. Specifically, it aims to a) increase the number of infants 0-6 months old who are exclusively breastfed; b) decrease the number of infants 0-6 months receiving food and drink other than breast milk; c) increase the number of infants 6-12 months old who receive calorie and nutrient-dense complementary food; and d) increase number of households with improved diets in terms of quality and quantity and involved in food production activities.

This year, to determine the level of implementation of the Promote Good Nutrition program, four workshops were completed by the participants during the program implementation review. The workshops revealed each provinceaccomplishments vis-à-vis targets, program gaps, good practices, facilitating and deterring factors. Recommendations, strategies and follow-through actions for program sustainability and expansion were identified by the participants. The participants also had the opportunity to reinforce their IYCF counselling and practical skills.

At the end of the workshops, OIC Santiago noted that MIMAROPA shall achieve “Progress and Gain in Nutrition” through the improved implementation of Promote Good Nutrition program.