Some barangays in Brooke’s Point town seek to lower the number of malnourished children within a 90-day feeding program that will be supported by the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) from the mining project of Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC).
The SDMP of the mining company will help the implementation of the feeding programs in the barangays of Calasaguen, Maasin, and Ipilan.
Councilor Ramy Pama of Brgy. Calasaguen claimed that the pandemic is one of the factors contributing to the rise in the number of malnourished children in their neighborhood.
Twelve kids or so began the program, where their weight would be tracked to see how they were doing.
“Kailangan ng mga kabataan na mag-normal ang timbang nila–medyo mataas din dito, dapat zero ang record dito sa barangay. Noong ibang mga taon mababa naman, pero ngayon tumaas. Meron naman tayo budget sa munisipyo at sa barangay pero ngayon tumaas talaga,” he said.
Milk and vitamins will also be provided to help the children achieve normal weight for their age. Calasaguen launched its program on August 18 with the goal of eliminating malnutrition among children aged five and under.
The barangay will use a P27,000 budget to run the program, while Brgy. Maasin, which has a larger number of beneficiaries, will use a P90,000 SDMP budget.
Maasin Councilor Juvy Lirazan stated that this program is necessary to address the rising number of malnourished children in their barangay, which is ranked second in the town.
The barangay will prioritize 30 children to assess the program’s effectiveness, which will be monitored twice a month. To ensure a successful outcome, the barangay also contributed P92,000 for milk and vitamin supplements for the children.
“Maasin kasi ay number two, noong pag-upo ko noong 2018, ‘yan talaga ang tinutukan ko na problema ng health kasi ang taas nga ng malnutrition namin. Noong 2018 ay pang-number five kami ngayon second na, nakakagulat na ganon ang nangyayari– Ang pinakaproblema, ang mga bata ay kulang sa height. Hindi angkop ang taas sa bigat,” she said.
She also mentioned that the area faces difficulties in providing healthy and sufficient food for children, which has a negative impact on their health. Lirazan hopes to help at least half of its beneficiaries normalize their weight over the course of 90 days.
“Nag-o-obserba ako, ang mga bata kumakain naman, ibig sabihin ay pagkain talaga ang kulang. Siguro ay ‘yong pag-alaga na rin ng magulang,” she added.
Alex Arabis, INC OIC resident mine manager said that they are eyeing to hit around 80 to 90 percent reduction through the program. He stressed the need of the program to be sustained and closely monitored to attain the progress.
“We can say na this is beneficial dahil sa mahabang panahon ay hindi naman sila nabibigyan ng ganong attention– with our intervention and assistance of our community doctors, nagawa namin ‘yong design. We are in the process of regularly implementing this to our host and neighboring communities,” he said.
Arabis added that they are already seeing some progress in the program implementation.
The support of INC is through the SDMP budget allocation for the health sector. Barangay Ipilan will start its feeding program in September after the two started in August.
“Iikutin namin ang mga barangay, as long as there are kids that need to be given that kind of program, ico-continue namin ‘yan kasi health is very important sa community. Health is wealth, we cannot really say na it’s a progressive community kapag may mga bata na hindi maayos na maibigay ang kanilang nurtitional requirement,” said.
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