Image 1Tabaco City. Bicol Region has been on enhanced community quarantine since March 15 and has affected a lot of Bicolanos. The primary concern during this pandemic is the health of every individual which is now being addressed by respective provincial governments as well as other LGUs in the region. For an instance, the provincial government of Albay initiated the inclusion of  vegetables in the distribution of relief food packs. They purchased raw vegetables such as squash, camote, ampalaya, and winged beans from local farmers in the province and distributed these to different LGUs, which in turn, reached the more needy  families. The provincial government also delivered food packs and hygiene kits to Albayanos  stranded in Del Gallego, Camarines Sur during the first week of the ECQ. Rapu rapu and Jovellar also included fish among food distributed to their constituents.  LGUs in Sorsogon included vegetable seeds and tinapa (lawlaw) in their relief packs. In Casiguran, the LGU did not include canned goods in the relief pack, rather, they provided seafoods and bread every day to the community. In Gubat, rice and dried fish were sold at much lower prices.  Two LGUs in Camarines Sur also have distributed RUTF to identified SAM patients good for two weeks supply.  Calabanga, in addition to vegetables and other commodities,  also distributed rice-sesame mongo blend to all 6-12 months old children in the municipality. In Masbate City, malnourished children continued to have medical check-up  and supplemental feeding program. However, instead of children being gathered for the program, the food is being given straight to their homes.

Healthy Relief Food Combo HeaderBy this time,  relief food packs already reached your pantry areas. In times like this,  we can only settle for what are locally available while our front liners are busy managing the sick while  government leaders  are deciding more serious matters. Not what food or dish to cook for the family.  We know these food packs are not enough.  That is why we are encouraging the people to take the challenge of creating a kitchen garden right at their doorstep by planting  vegetables that are easy to grow and will produce greens in a short time.  The other challenge is how to make the most of the contents of the food packs.  The following are simple tips and suggestions to make more “masustansya”  your usual relief food packs.

Sardinas ba kamo?

  • Gisahin with the usual sibuyas and bawang. Lagyan mo na rin ng kamatis para may lycopene na good for the heart.
  • Para maging mas makulay, you can put malunggay, or talbos ng kamote on the side. Mayaman yan sa iron at B vitamins for a healthy blood Puwede ding alugbati dyan sa tabi  o kaya naman kangkong na madahon, to add more variety.
  • Ginisang sardinas with sayote or green papaya , upo o patola, depende sa available na gulay sa likod bahay.
  • Sabawan para mas marami, good for the whole family.

RNCL LOOPLegazpi City. The National Nutrition Council in Bicol convened on Wednesday, 25 March the Inter-Agency members of the Regional Nutrition Cluster through video conference to discuss the Nutrition Advisory No. 1, series 2020 urging LGUs on nutrition actions to take relative to COVID-19 crisis,  and the status of COVID-19 in Bicol. The advisory issued by the National Nutrition Cluster chaired by Executive Director Azucena M. Dayanghirang will guide the local government units, non-government organization, business companies and other civic-oriented organizations providing nutrition services to all areas affected by COVID-19. Meanwhile, 18 regional nutrition cluster members from different government agencies and non-government organizations participated in the online meeting. During the meeting, each nutrition advisory was tackled by the members citing the activities of government agencies and initiatives of non-government organizations. NPC Reario emphasized the need for the mothers to breastfeed exclusively (for 0-6-month-old infants) and provide complementary food (for 6 months and beyond). She also mentioned to include vegetables to the family food packs being given for the families. DSWD representative, Ms. Cristina Florendo said that the DSWD has given  food packs to different local government units containing  6 kilos rice, 4 cans of sardines, 4 cans of corned beef, 6 sachets of 3-in-1 coffee which are good for 3 days. These food packs will be given  to 25% of the poorest families in each LGU. Dr. Rita Ang-Bon of CHD Bicol  shared  that the Inter-Agency Task Force of Bicol meets regularly for the COVID-19 issues. She hopes that the nutrition commodities intended for Bicol region will soon arrive from DOH Central Office. 

BHERT v BNCBoth Barangay Based-Institutions (BBIs), the Barangay Health and Emergency Response Team (BHERT) and the Barangay Nutrition Committee (BNC) have its own unique role in ensuring the well-being of the populace. The former looks at the general population and active when there is an ensuing health emergency while the latter is for children (pre-school and school children), pregnant and lactating mothers and other vulnerable groups in the barangay. These existed based on the emerging issue during the time these were created by virtue of a particular legal bases. The BHERT is to respond to a health emergency at hand while the BNC prepares the younger population so they are physically and mentally prepared for a health emergency that they will possibly face until they reach old age.

In 2003, during the multi-country Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, BHERT by virtue of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular (MC) 2003-95 was born out of dire necessity to prevent the spread of the illness. This time, again, BHERTs were activated throughout the country thru DILG MC 2020-023 dated 06 February 2020 as one of the government’s response to control COVID 19 pandemic to further spread this in the communities.

RadioLegazpi City. The province of Masbate has been a recipient of NNC’s Nutriskwela Community Radio since 2017.  These radio stations bridge the different sectors and the people within or in nearby communities to right information regarding community development, proper nutrition, and proper health services. Radyo Kahamugaway in in Cawayan and Radyo Kabag-uhan in Cataingan are both managed by the municipalities.   SM Clint Ramirez of Cataingan shared that the people have actually clamored for the radio to be on air whenever it stops operation due to breakdown.  SM Fel Monares of Cawayan said that various members of their Community Radio Council in their municipality continue to enjoy being radio broadcasters having their own time slots, with  their own style of broadcasting.

Radyo Kahamugaway and Radyo Kabag-uhan have been receiving positive feed backs from their avid listeners through text messages they receive and comments on their Facebook page. However, Typhoon Tisoy damaged the radio station of Radyo Kabag-uhan so it was off-air from early December to 9 March 2020. Radio personnel of Radyo Kabag-uhan opted to do Facebook live streaming continue disseminating nutrition information and reaching the community. After the radio went on-air again, they  maintained their Facebook Live Streaming to gather more audience. Info on the Facebook page was published on the official publication of Cataingan to reach more.  On the other hand, Radyo Kahamugaway relies on the 100-watt transmitter which is able to reach 14 barangays of the municipality. SM Fel Monares requested assistance from the Sangguniang Bayan to increase the capacity of the transmitter so it can reach wider coverage. Vice Mayor Ester Binsol who was a former MNAO of the municipality know very well its importance. So, she promised to assist the radio in their request.

Photo Courtesy by Municipal of Tiwi Facebook PageTabaco City.  COVID-19 pandemic has affected the health and livelihood of Filipinos. The Department of Health reminds everyone to wash their hands frequently and boost their immune system to prevent acquiring the virus. Promotion of good nutrition is most necessary during this health crisis. With this in mind, the city of Tabaco and municipality of Tiwi in the province of Albay initiated buying produce from their local farmers. The two LGUs announced earlier last week that agricultural produce only will be bought by the LGU and will distribute them to the families in the community. 

In Tabaco City, hundreds of kilos of produce were bought from the farmers and are being allocated to the different sectors of the community. According to City Nutrition Program Coordinator Efleda Boboyo, 108 kilos of pechay, 320 kilos of winged beans, and 41 kilos of tomatoes will be distributed to 2,400 pregnant and lactating women in the city.  As of today, the city government has provided food packs to 1,000 pregnant and lactating mothers with these fresh veggies.