RO9 RootcropsWhile the COVID-19 pandemic is still on the surface and the Philippines is forced to implement community quarantine as part of the “new normal” to control its spread, people are facing for a possible food shortage, panic-buying and food hoarding. However, since people are advised to stay at home and observe social distancing protocols, this period can also be the right opportunity to engage in gardening and produce their own food in the convenience of their home backyard.

Foods that are great to plant at  home are root crops.  Aside from rice, root crops are also great sources of carbohydrates for energy to keep you going. They are also known for their concentrations of Vitamin C, B and A as well as their level of health-promoting antioxidants which helps the body in boosting the immune system to fight infections and diseases. They are also safe alternatives for people with hypertension and diabetes because of their high fiber content and low glycemic index.

Rootcrops are also ideal for your home gardening because they take up little space of your backyard and can be harvested over a long period of time. With proper home storage facilities, they can be kept fresh for a longer consumption. In the Philippines, there are four affordable and easy to grow root crops that you could try planting at your home. These are cassava (kamoteng kahoy), sweet potato (kamote), purple yam (ube) and taro (gabi). The keys in growing root crops are the following: make a good seedbed, give enough space to grow, keep the crops clear of weeds, make sure they have enough water and most importantly have patience when planting.

Root crops are buried treasures that can be difficult to get started with, but rewarding when harvested. With the on-going crisis of COVID-19, people need to be clever in order to survive  this pandemic. Through backyard gardening, you can save more time and money, ensure access to healthier and fresher source of food and above all, food security for your family.


NO I Angelica O. Pajulas

RO9 Slow Down To Save LivesEvery year, millions of lives have been taken due to road traffic accidents. In the Philippines alone, the World Health Organization says that about 12,000 Filipinos die on the road yearly. These deaths are very alarming thus it needs heightened interventions and cooperation from the citizens. To continue to raise awareness on the road safety, the month of May is declared as Road Safety Month by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 115-A to promote road safety and increase consciousness on the health impact and economic costs involved.

People have variety of reasons to go out of their homes daily, whether they leave for work, in school or  buy their necessities at the mall, as well as to go on road trips with friends or even take a vacation to unwind. Whichever of these may  be your reason, the most important thing you need to ensure is to be able to reach your destination safely. One best possible way to avoid road traffic accidents is to slow down whenever you are driving. Slowing down and observing speed limits appropriate for the roads are vital to make the roads safer for everyone- for children walking to school, for the elderly crossing the road, for workers driving to places of work and for every road users.

RO9 breastfeeding amidst pandemicDuring this world-wide pandemic, a lot of questions were still left unanswered. When will this end? Can someone invent a vaccine for this? What will happen to us after all of this is over? Can we still go back to normal? Undeniably, for mothers, they all hoped for the best for their children and they are not excluded from those people asking for answers to their questions. Luckily for them, the World Health Organization (WHO) answered the frequently asked questions of breastfeeding mothers.

  • Can COVID-19 be passed through breastfeeding?

To date, the virus has not been detected in the breastmilk of any mother with confirmed/suspected COVID-19. Therefore, it appears unlikely that the virus would be transmitted through breastfeeding.

In fact, Dr. Rebecca Powell, assistant professor of medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, is actively gathering breast milk to study its antibodies which she hoped that the antibody levels are high and have protective function so that it could be purified and used in treatments in severe cases of COVID-19.

  • If a mother is confirmed/suspected to have COVID-19, should she still continue breastfeeding?

RO9 OvereatingStaying at home during the COVID-19 crisis can lead to unhealthy eating habits such as binge eating or overeating to seek relief from the stress, anxiety and boredom brought by the current pandemic. This boredom or stress-related eating habit is a natural reaction since some people find comfort in food, but always be reminded that frequent and excessive eating could lead to obesity and other non-communicable diseases.

People naturally eat for various reasons, and emotional state is among them. There is nothing wrong if you find food as one of the things that you can turn to during this stressful times since it is normal to indulge yourself with food to cope up with your emotions. However, keep in mind that during this time of pandemic, a good nutrition is a fundamental factor for your health particularly in times when the immune system might need to fight back. Binge eating of unhealthy foods such as processed, salty, fatty, fried and sugar-rich foods will place your body at risks of obesity and non-communicable diseases that may weaken your immune system.

RO9 safe motherhoodPregnancy and childbirth are both considered very crucial in a woman’s life. Apart from the joy and hope it brings, it is also inevitable to have fear and anxiety since it is also associated with risks to health and survival of both the mother and the baby she bears. These risks must be discontinued and should be provided with prompt interventions to secure a safe motherhood. In order to ensure that every mother will have access to healthcare facilities and receive quality care during their pregnancy, annually, 2nd week of May is celebrated as Safe Motherhood Week.

To achieve the overall maternal care, mothers should not only deliver their baby in the healthcare facilities but should also be given appropriate maternal nutrition. The ability of a mother to provide nutrients for her baby is a critical factor for fetal health. Failure to meet the nutritional requirements of the mother may not only bring risks to her health but could also lead to fetal malnutrition that may affect the child’s development in the future. This is why, mothers together with their partners must be fully committed when planning to have a baby.

RO9 NAOs online meetingTaking advantage of today’s modern technology, the Nutrition Action Officers (NAOs) of Zamboanga Peninsula convene online for its 1st semester meeting presided by National Nutrition Council (NNC) Region IX’s Nutrition Program Coordinator Nimfa D. Ekong. With the help of internet, gadgets such as laptop and mobile phones, and the Zoom application, 19 participants were able to connect and meet online on 13 May 2020. The agenda of the meeting includes discussing the Nutrition Advisory Nos. 01 and 02, sharing the good practices and initiatives of LGUs response amid COVID-19,  discuss the 2020 Nutrition Month 2020 theme and plans, sharing the local ordinances of different LGUs, and other important matters. For other matters, issues and concerns with regards to BNS financial assistance were also discussed.

Just like other meetings NO I Zhalimar A. Jakaria-Patulada acknowledged the participants present  to be able to know who participated in the online meeting. NPC Ekong welcomed all those who joined the meeting and presented the agenda tabled for discussion. Then immediately NPC Ekong discussed to the participants NNC’s Nutrition Advisory Nos. 01 and 02.