A total of P8.9 billion is included in the government’s spending program this year to implement two anti-hunger initiatives aimed at establishing a free feeding program in all public schools and provide children full support beginning conception up to two years old, Sen. Grace Poe said.
The two initiatives have been Poe’s pet bills since joining the legislature in 2013. To implement the free feeding program, P4.2 billion has been allocated for the Department of Education (DepEd), the implementing agency of the school-based feeding program, while P4.4 billion has been earmarked for the Department of Social Welfare and Development to implement the supplemental feeding program.
As for the First 1,000 Days Program jointly managed by the Department of Health and the National Nutrition Council (NNC), a total of P294 million has been allocated to implement the natal care program for expectant mothers, and health care and feeding program for toddlers.
“We have supported these nutrition programs of the government, and our next step is to institutionalize them through legislative fiat to make these programs permanent,” said Poe.
Poe is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill (SB) No. 1297 or An Act Creating a National School Feeding Program to Combat Hunger and Undernutrition for all Basic Education Students. Under the measure, the DepEd, in coordination with the NNC and the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, shall prepare a menu that satisfies at least one-third of the daily nutritional requirement of a child based on the Philippine Dietary Reference Intake. It shall be drawn up according to age range, type of school, and local cultural eating preferences.
“The school feeding program ensures that our children are properly nourished to enable them to grow up healthy, smart and alert. At the same time, by institutionalizing this program, we are giving livelihood opportunities for local producers and suppliers, as the ingredients for the menu will be sourced from them,” Poe explained.
Poe urges the implementing agencies to maximize the budget given to them, and cautions that the Senate shall keep a “tight watch” on how the agencies spend the money.
“I trust that the DepEd and the DSWD will ensure that the budget allocated for the feeding programs will directly benefit the intended beneficiaries. Ating titiyakin na ang inilaan para sa bituka ng mga bata ay hindi sa bulsa ng iba mapupunta,” Poe said.
In previous years, Poe was instrumental in hiking the budget of the feeding program to cover more beneficiaries and effectively tackle malnutrition and hunger among schoolchildren. About 75 percent of student-beneficiaries of the DepEd’s school-based feeding program have their weight normalized. “This emphasizes that the program must now be institutionalized,” Poe pointed out.
The lady senator also filed SB No. 161 or the proposed First 1,000 Days Act to support a child’s life from the point of conception to the child’s second birthday—the most crucial stage of human development.
The measure seeks to develop a mother and child health care program for the First 1,000 Days in every barangay. The program shall include not only nutrition counselling but also milk feeding for pregnant and nursing mothers, treatment of malnourished children with therapeutic food, and the timely provision of safe and appropriate complementary food.
“I hope our government sees the importance of passing this bill. By caring for our mothers, we care for our children, and by caring for children, we are caring for our nation–for who else will become the backbone of this nation but the future generation?” Poe stressed.
Poe wrote President Duterte on Sept. 1 last year to certify the two nutrition measures as urgent and include them as part of the administration’s priority bills to enable lawmakers to rush approval. With the President’s certification, Congress can simultaneously pass them on second and third reading on the same day and do away with the three-day interval in between approvals as required by the Constitution.
“In order to reap the economic dividends of the so-called ‘demographic sweet spot,’ we need to provide our children the proper nurturing environment to help them succeed in the future. We need to invest in our children today to reap due rewards tomorrow,” Poe said.
Poe is pushing for the institutionalization of the nutrition-driven initiatives amid various research indicating that the Philippines still has high incidence of hunger.
“If National Food Authority’s Administrator Jason Aquino signed the approval of the three import permits of rice while he fought for the suspension of its importation through the private sector as they prejudice the price of palay in the middle of the harvest season, is Aquino a hypocrite?”
This was my poser to anti-smuggling Samahang Industriya Agrikultura (SINAG) chair Rosendo So when he guested recently my radio program.
Mr. So told me Aquino has a problem.
“Iyon ang isang problema. Kung hindi mo na aprubahan lahat, huwag mo aprubahan,” he stressed.
In his squabble with a cabinet Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco Jr. and Undersecretary Maia Chiara Halmen Valdez, Aquino, a PMYer and recommendee of Paulo Duterte, argued as reported by the media that the importation of rice could pull down the price of palay in the middle of a bumper harvest season in March and April this year.
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
DAGUPAN CITY – Rooms in major and medium scales hotels in this city have been fully booked a week after the start of the month long Bangus Festival 2017 that began last March 31.
City Tourism Chief Sharon Maramba said as of late March, hotel rooms in this City proper were already reserved.
“Nag booked para sa mga judges sa Gilon-Gilon Festival of the North pati iyong (inaudible) trainers wala na po that’s three weeks ago. So we don’t have enough hotels,” she said during a press conference held at the Atrium in CSI Stadia last April 6.
As of the first week of April, she cited, hotels and resorts at the outskirts of the city would have already been booked, too.
“So in terms of occupancy sobrang mataas o fully booked na sa city (proper) na hotel. Fully booked na sila.”
Maramba advised tourists to avail of hotels at the neighboring towns of Mangaldan, Calasiao, Binmaley, and Lingayen.
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
MALASIQUI – This town as an annual appropriation fund of P230 million this year, but the local government has to pay more than P75 million loans from government banks.
Mayor Noel Geslani said the LGU pays the amortization for the debts incurred by his predecessors former mayors Alfonso Soriano and Armando Domantay. The loan of the administration of former Mayor Oscar Lambino had been paid,” he said.
The town, which has 73 villages, has a P10 million loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines alone.
Geslani said the payment of the amortization is sourced from this first class town’s P45 million development fund which came from local taxes and its share from the internal revenue allotment.
The mayor also said he had asked the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for the training for jobless residents and dangerous drug offenders who have surrendered.
Geslani was also able to install electric street lights and closed-circuit television (CCTV) on the major thoroughfares and the villages here.
Virgilio Sar. Maganes
BANI- A former village head received several gunshots inside his home that caused his instant death in Colayo village here last April 10.
Police officers identified the victim as Conrado Huellas, 77 years old, married and a resident of the place.
Police investigation disclosed that at about 9:00 in the evening of said date, the victim together with his wife were inside their room after viewing a television program when they heard a sound that was believed to come from a busted electrical transformer.
After several minutes, the wife saw a bullet of caliber 45 at the house window, which was followed by several sounds of gun shots.
By Virgilio Sar. Maganes
BOLINAO- “Don’t go back to your dangerous and troubled lives because of using illegal drugs. Live a reformed life.”
This was the message conveyed by first District Rep. Jesus “Boying” Celeste to the 534 drug surrenderers of this town recently at the Don Raymundo Celeste Sports Complex following the declaration of this town as “drug-cleared” by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
He was joined by village heads, Municipal Councilor Rudy Caacbay, Chair of Peace and Order Committee of the Sangguniang Bayan dito, Liga ng mga Barangay President Romeo Celeste, Mayor Arnold DF Celeste and Vice Mayor Dr. Alfon F. Celeste who was represented by Sangguniang Bayan Secretary Ayar Montemayor.
Celeste said that the surrenderers’ families will lead miserable lives if they will not shun totally the use of the illegal drugs.
” Even your friends and relatives will go away from you. You will be like criminals as the police elements will be after you. You will be slaves of the drug pushers when you are addicted to it,” Celeste said as a reminder to the drug surrenderers to lead new lives.
He further said that the village officials, municipal officials and his office will always be there to help them renew their lives.