Let us end malnutrition – BBM-Sara UniTeam

Let us end malnutrition – BBM-Sara UniTeam

Change.org photo courtesy

MANILA — The BBM-Sara UniTeam plans to intensify the fight against the country’s long-standing malnutrition problem, resulting from alarming poverty incidence in the country and exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, should their tandem win in next year’s elections.

Malnutrition is and has always been, a serious problem in the Philippines. The country is rated fifth in the East Asia and Pacific area for the greatest frequency of stunting, and it is among the top ten countries in the world for stunted children.

According to the duo, due to poverty, the Philippines also ranks in the world when it comes to malnutrition, which is considered one of our country’s most critical concerns. They said if, given the chance, they shall strengthen the campaign against it.

“Talaga namang malaking hamon ang malnutrition sa lahat ng dumaang administrasyon, hindi tayo nawawala sa pandaigdigang listahan kapag pinag-uusapan ang ganitong problema, kaya naman dapat talagang paigtingin ng ating gobyerno ang kampanya laban dito pero syempre dapat solusyonan din natin ang lumalalang problema ng kahirapan sa ating bansa na nagiging puno’t dulo ng kagutuman,” the BBM-Sara UniTeam stated.

They held that the COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the country’s famine problem since many people have lost their jobs and businesses.

“Malnutrition is a consequence of persistent hunger, and hunger a consequence of extreme poverty,” they stated.

Following the outbreak of the pandemic, hunger levels in the Philippines skyrocketed. According to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted in September 2020, after seven months of community quarantine, 31% of households experienced hunger in the previous 30 days, and 9% experienced severe hunger, the highest levels in more than 20 years.

“Ngayon, mas lumala pa ‘yung problema natin, dahil nga dito sa Covid-19 pandemic, marami ang nawalan ng trabaho, ng pagkakakitaan, kaya mas marami ang nakararanas ng gutom, pasalamat tayo kahit papaano dahil sa ngayon unti-unti nang bumabangon at gumagalaw ang ating ekonomiya,” they said.

“Kapag tuluyan nang nagbukas ang ating ekonomiya, ang iisipin agad natin ay ‘yung trabaho, ‘yung pagkakakitaan ng mga tao, gawa tayo ng mas maraming trabaho, kasi ang puno’t dulo ng lahat ng ito, ng malnutrisyon ay kahirapan, ang pinaka-apektado pa naman dito ay ‘yung mga kabataan, mga estudyante,” they added.

The duo however said that they are impressed with the government’s efforts, particularly the Department of Education’s (Dep-Ed) program to alleviate the hunger situation in public schools.

Since 1997, the Department of Education (Dep-Ed) has implemented school-based feeding programs (SBFPs). The Dep-Ed’s first SBFP, then called Breakfast Feeding Program (BFP), aimed at addressing short-term hunger. Through the years, the SBFP shifted focus from addressing short-term hunger to addressing malnutrition among public primary students.

“Ngayon ang alam natin mayroong regular feeding program sa mga eskwelahan, kaya lang ang tingin nating problema lang diyan hindi sapat ‘yung araw kung papaano ginagawa ‘yung programa, sa tuwing nasa paaralan lang ba sila, ‘yun ‘yung dapat nating isa-alang-alang, ‘yung implementasyon ng programa, pero natutuwa tayo dahil maganda ang programang ito para sa mga kabataang kulang sa nutrisyon,” said the BBM-Sara UniTeam.

“Mas magandang makipag-ugnayan pa tayo sa ibat-ibang ahensiya ng gobyerno para sa problemang ito, maging sa lokal na pamahalaan, dapat talaga natin ito’ng solusyonan kasi alam naman natin na ang batang gutom, walang laman ang tiyan, ay hindi nakakapag-aral ng maayos, bumababa ‘yung posibilidad na matuto sila,” they said.

Marcos, meanwhile, also recalled how his father, former President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., tackled the issue of malnutrition in partnership with USAID in its “Food for Peace Program,” providing nutribun, bulgur, and klim milk in every community and school to combat hunger.

“Naalala ko lang ‘yung panahon ng aking ama, nakipag-ugnayan siya sa USAID para matulungan ‘yung kalagayan ng ating bansa patungkol sa malnutrition, ‘yung nutribun na hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa rin makalimutan ng marami, namigay sila ng nutribun, bulgur at klim milk, siguro magandang ibalik ‘yung ganong programa,” said Marcos.

“Maraming paraan na pwede nating idagdag sa kasalukuyang programa, ‘yung pang-matagalang solusyon at ‘yung makakatulong talaga para sa tao, sa mga estudyante at sa lahat ng nagugutom,” the BBM-Sara UniTeam added. (ai/mtvn)

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