MANILA – Sen. Grace Poe stressed the urgent need to protect and provide support to children in their first 1,000 days as this is the period when they are most vulnerable.
“This is the most critical period in the life of a Filipino child, during which he or she must be properly nourished and cared for,” Poe stressed.
“Walang lugar ang pagpapabaya lalo’t higit sa panahong ito ng kanilang labis na pangangailangan tungo sa tamang paglaki at paghubog ng kanilang buong kakayanan,” the senator said.
Poe has filed Senate Bill 2755 seeking to provide Filipino children full protection and support, especially from day one in the womb until they reach the age of two through the establishment of a “first 1,000 days” program in every barangay across the country.
Under the measure, the Health department, in coordination with the Departments of the Interior and Local Government and Social Welfare and Development, National Nutrition Council and the Food and Nutrition Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DoST) shall develop the program, which includes nutrition counselling, milk feeding, treatment of malnourished children, general family counselling and intervention measures through safe and high-quality complementary food.
A World Food Program study shows that the most crucial period in the development of the child’s brain is the first 1,000 days from conception. Malnutrition begins at the womb. If brain synapses are not formed properly, no amount of post-birth intervention will reverse the situation.
Malnutrition remains a huge challenge in the country. According to a UNICEF report, a large number of Filipino children are undernourished, 3.6 million of children 0 to 59 months are underweight, and four million are stunted, according to a UNICEF report.
“We need a strong, whole-of-society support and institutionalized, effective mechanisms to protect and bring up our children accordingly,” Poe said.
Poe has also filed SB No. 79 or the Sustansiya sa Batang Pilipino Act of 2013, which seeks to push for the institutionalization of a free nutri-meals program to children enrolled in all kindergarten, elementary, and high schools.
Poe filed the measure in response to a study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) showing that 3.6 million of children aged 0-59 months are underweight and four million others are stunted. According to the FNRI-DoST, 25% or one in every four pregnant women is undernourished.#