Stunting has been a global burden and the Philippines ranked 9th in this crisis and ranked 2nd for the shortest in the ASEAN Region based on the 2014 Comparative Heights in ASEAN Countries. The First 1000 days intervention, dubbed Early Childcare and Development programs, has been the scientifically proven program to address this problem. Various national government agencies, NGOs, and other groups have been taking part in this endeavor over the years. One substantial step is the ratification of RA 11148 also known as The Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag Nanay Act in 2018. Some of the provisions stipulated in this law are to provide mothers the standard pre-and post-natal care, reduce low birth weight children, promote breastfeeding, and enjoin local government units to adopt and allocate budget for this cause.
Among other provisions of this law, the national dietary supplementation program which is an intervention providing additional calories to pregnant women in the 3rd trimester was identified and has proven to decrease low birth weight and thereby stunting among children. Bicol, as one priority regions of the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster, is a recipient of this intervention. Scroll down and find out more.
1) Originally, Camarines Sur is the only province in Bicol to be provided with Tutok Kainan: Dietary Supplementation Program for 6,350 pregnant women. This is a 90-day well-monitored feeding and nutrition education program for pregnant women who are nutritionally at risk in their 1st and 2nd trimester and all pregnant women in their 3rd trimester
2) 3 consecutive typhoons hit the Bicol Region towards the end of 2020, leaving a vast devastation in agriculture, homes, and infrastructure, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This drew the attention of the National Government for the provinces of Albay and Catanduanes and became part of the program as Emergency Areas to address the effects of calamities among 3,425 and 740 identified mothers, respectively.
3) Similarly, a closely monitored feeding and nutrition education program among 6-23 months old children who are stunted and wasted has been a component of this program. Sorsogon was identified as one of the provinces to take part in the 180-day feeding of 1,367 children, 6-23 months old.
4) The link between NNC ROV and the Department of Agrarian Reform Regional Office V was strengthened in the light of Tutok Kainan. DAR, as an additional member of the Regional Nutrition Committee, has been expanding its linkages among national and local government agencies relative to the Enhance Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) program. EPAHP is a program patterned from that of Brazil which aims to harmonize the efforts of all NGAs in fighting malnutrition by strengthening the capacity of local farmers to provide food security and sustainability among the Filipinos in their communities
5) According to NNC Central Office, NNC and DAR Albay were the first to engage in a Memorandum of Understanding for Tutok Kainan: DSP. This has been a result of cooperation between NNC, DAR and one Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organization (ARBO) named VINICASAN Irrigator’s Association of Bacacay, Albay where the latter will be the consolidator for the food and other commodity requirements including fresh vegetables, fish, and meat for TK DSP in the First District of Albay.
6) ARBOs are recipients of titled lands from DAR and are being provided with the technical know-how on enhancing the lands and supporting their livelihood through farming. Today, through DAR’s assistance, ARBOs are likewise engaged in marketing to NGAs such as the Bureau of Jail and Management and NNC. Bicol, being rich in both aquatic and land resources, is fortunate to have a balanced ecosystem where sustainability is not too far to meet.
7) On 21 April 2020, DARRO V even strengthened its commitment to help uplift the nutritional status of the Bicolanos vis-a-vis the lives of farmers as they signed the Regional Memorandum of Understanding with NNC RO V to provide the wet-feeding ingredients of Tutok Kainan. This symbolizes the oath of DAR in all provinces to provide quality and timely products as requested by the program.
8) Social preparations took place for almost the entire year of 2020 for the 4 mentioned provinces. Master listing, completion of documentary requirements, coordination and orientation would not have been possible without the presence and sacrifices of the Barangay Nutrition Scholars, Barangay Nutrition Committees (BNC) led by the Punong Barangays, Nutrition Coordinators, Nutrition Action Officers, Municipal NCs chaired by the Local Chief Executive, DOH deployed Nutritionist-Dietitians and nurses, and NNC RO V staff lead by RNPC Reario, who have been painstakingly completing and trouble-shooting all necessary steps to execute this program. Their commitment to deliver the food for this first-ever national feeding program for pregnant women takes a huge part of the picture and is engraved in the history of nutrition in the country.
9) Aside from providing additional calories to pregnant women, this program also aims to increase the know-how of every pregnant woman on proper nutrition and continue to practice good nutrition beyond the period of the program. Likewise, it also aims to serve as an example to LGUs in adopting the RA 11148 which may prioritize programs for nutritionally at risk mothers and children especially in the light of a higher Internal Review Allotment of LGUs as a result of the Mandanas Ruling.
10) Finally, the long wait and preparation yielded the commencement of its implementation in Camarines Sur last 17 May 2021. Albay, Catanduanes, and Sorsogon are slated to begin the same program soon.
“Marami pang trabaho ang kailangan nating gawin, kaya naman ating hinihikayat ang lahat na makiisa at makibahagi sa usaping laban sa kagutuman. We have to leave a legacy. WE NEED TO CREATE AN IMPACT THAT WILL HAVE A LASTING EFFECT. Dahil ang problema sa nutrisyon at kagutuman ay hindi kayang masolusyonan agad. We really need to move for change. Ikan ga nila, IT IS NOW OR NEVER”, part of the speech of Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles during the Regional MoU signing of DARRO V and NNC ROV.
KIBB/ARR/NNC RO V