May 27, 2024

The Insider News

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PBBM wants more cohesive approach in addressing hunger, indigency

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. wants a “more cohesive” manner in addressing the problem of hunger and the indigency in the country, Health Secretary Ted Herbosa Jr. said on Tuesday.

In a news briefing in Malacañang, Herbosa said the chief executive does not want a duplication in the feeding programs of the various government agencies, noting that a unified approach in tackling the major concerns of the country should be put in place.

“The President wanted a more cohesive approach (for) this problem of hunger and addressing the poor. And he was asking, ‘I don’t want duplication…’ kasi nga baka paulit-ulit lang iyong ibang agency nagpi-feeding program – mayroon sa LGU (local government unit), mayroon sa DepEd (Department of Education), mayroon sa DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), mayroon sa DOH (Department of Health),” Herbosa said.

“We’re trying to now put them all together in one unified ‘life stages’ approach. So, iyon ang pino-propose ko sa President. I think the way to approach it is a life stage and umpisa doon sa buntis,” he added.

During an earlier sectoral meeting with the President, Herbosa noted the chief executive commented: ‘Who’s taking care of the pregnant teenager who needs to understand what micronutrients to take when they’re pregnant? What type of food to eat?’

“Wala eh. So that’s another thing that’s been—nautos na rin sa akin iyan. That’s gonna be the Department of Health’s activity,” he pointed out, adding that they would be coming out with a plan with other government agencies to address stunting and malnutrition in the country.

Based on figures from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, stunting rates for ages 0 to 23 months old is 21.6 percent or one in five children while for children under five years old, the stunting rate is 28.7 percent.

For malnutrition rate, Herbosa said the children in daycare facilities, which is handled and supervised by DepEd, it is pegged at 20 percent.

“So one in five kids, I need to feed properly with correct nutrients,” the DOH Secretary said.

“Ang sabi ko sa President, pagdugtong-dugtungin natin iyan parang barbeque – safety net iyong huli. Kasi iyong sa school age which is the emphasis before of the past administration, huli na ang brain development kaya mababa ang IQ (intelligence quotient) ng mga Pilipino,” Herbosa said, noting that with the first 1,000-day approach is the best way to assist breastfeeding mothers via the voucher or the food stamp program.

Herbosa said he is thankful that the Marcos administration is focusing on the hunger mitigation program because it would mean less problems in the health sector.

“I’m glad that the President and Secretary Rex are focusing on food stamps and hunger because I will have less problems in health. Kasi tandaan ninyo, nutrition is related to wellness. That means, ito rin iyong mga batang magkaka-TB, magkaka-bronchopneumonia, mao-ospital,” he said.

“If I have good nutrition in children, hindi mapupuno ang ospital kasi malulusog iyong mga bata, makakapasok sila sa eskwela, ga-graduate sila ng K-12, pwede silang magtrabaho at hindi sila sakitin,” Herbosa added.