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DILG chief urges PH governors to focus on children's nutrition

VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur, Feb. 15 (PIA) — Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. on Sunday, February 11, called on the governors across the country to strengthen nutrition programs.
Abalos made the statement during the League of Provinces of the Philippines special meeting at the Plaza Maestro Convention Center in this city.

The said meeting was dubbed "Tawid ken Tayab" (Taking Root and Soaring High) and was hosted by the provincial government of Ilocos Sur.
In his presentation, Abalos cited the recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2022 Survey which showed that the Philippines placed 77th among 81 countries in student assessment.
The survey also showed that 15-year-olds in the Philippines have an average score of 356 points in Science compared to 485 average in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, and 16% of students attained a significantly lower average in Mathematics compared to the 69% across OECD countries.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. addresses concerns of the members of the League of Provinces of the Philippines in the special meeting in Vigan City on February 11. PIA/ATV

He said, “We have the ability to provide nutrition programs for our Filipino children, the unfortunate thing is one out of three Filipino children, based on the survey, are stunted.”
The DILG Secretary said that the current state of the children is disheartening.
In this case, he said, even if the government gives these children the best educational opportunity, they will not be able to effectively perform academically schooling, if are physically weak due to malnutrition or undernutrition.
“These children could be saved, so this is a call to action to every one among us,” said Abalos.

Ilocos Sur Governor Jeremias Singson presents the accomplishments of the provincial government in the special meeting of the League of Provinces of the Philippines in Vigan City. PIA/ATV

The Secretary also shared their previous nutrition initiatives in Mandaluyong City when he was city mayor, which included programs focusing on pregnant women, supporting them in every stage of their pregnancy, particularly with vitamins, making sure they do not drink liquor and consume cigarettes, and ensuring their health is at its best with continuous exams and tests.
They also promoted breastfeeding, incorporated awareness activities on the ground, and educated the public about healthy meals and safe food preparation.
He said these initiatives helped them eventually clinch the Nutrition Honor Award from the National Nutrition Council in 2011, 2012, and 2013, after placing low for three consecutive years prior.

Moreover, other members of the League of Provinces gave updates and shared their plans for sustainable development.
Governor Jeremias Singson presented major accomplishments and development opportunities of the provincial government and the heritage province of Ilocos Sur.
He said, “The 10-point One Ilocos Sur agenda is responsible for all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals; Ambisyon Natin 2040. From birth to tomb, we take care of our people, particularly their health and education.”
“Our agenda includes nurturing our daycare centers. Let us invest in our children. The province prioritizes funds for education. Here in Ilocos Sur, we give equal rights of education to all the children, even those who are not well-off,” said Singson.
He mentioned that the children of the farmers and fisherfolks are provided with Montessori type of schooling, which he brought to the province so that the children will be equipped and prepared to be great in the future. (JCR/MJTAB/AMB/ATV, PIA Ilocos Sur)

About the Author

Aila Villanueva


Region 1

Aila T. Villanueva is an Information Officer I of the Philippine Information Agency Ilocos Sur Information Center based in the Heritage City of Vigan.

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