Directors Bio 3471 2756


Dr. Azucena M. Dayanghirang is an experienced public health leader. For the past 29 years, she has been a facilitator and a trainer for various health programs particularly on Maternal Child Health and Nutrition. She has served the people of Davao as City Nutrition Action Officer from 1991-1995; Chief of the Technical Services Division and Medical Officer VI of Davao City Health Office from 1996 to 2005; as well as the Provincial Health Officer II and Provincial Nutrition Action Officer of Davao del Sur from 2008 to 2016.

During her stint in the local government, she led the City Nutrition Committee in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of health and nutrition programs. She initiated the “Fresh Milk Supplemental Feeding Program,” which led to the reduction of protein-energy malnutrition among 0-6-year-old children. She also successfully lobbied for the regularization of 32 Nutritionist-Dietitians deployed in the 16 Districts of Davao City in 1996.

In 2016, she was elected as the National President of the Nutrition Action Officers' Association of the Philippines (NAOPA), Inc. Shortly after, she was appointed as Deputy Executive Director of the National Nutrition Council (NNC), an attached agency of the Department of Health, Philippines. In August 2019, Dr. Dayanghirang was appointed as the Executive Director of the NNC. Currently, she is designated as the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Philippines Government Focal Point and most recently, appointed as a member of the Executive Committee of the Global Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement representing Asia and Papua New Guinea.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed the appointment of Dr. Dayanghirang to Career Executive Service Officer (CESO) Rank III effective 3 December 2020. Recently, she was upgraded to Executive Director IV with the rank of Assistant Secretary as approved by President Duterte through Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea on 21 July 2021.

SUNJA photo


The Philippines identified top 3 nutrition priorities to pursue in 2022 during the 2021 Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Joint Assessment Consultation Series held on 10 and February 2022. These are:

  • Development and dissemination of Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition 2023-2028 and Regional Plan of Action for Nutrition 2023-2028, including the operational and advocacy plans
  • Tracking of budget to monitor increasing investments for nutrition programs / PPAN interventions (both nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive), through implementation of the developed comprehensive resource mobilization
  • Establishment of comprehensive PPAN monitoring and evaluation system to include, but not limited to, physical and financial tracking, and results-based monitoring of the PPAN results framework




The National Nutrition Council Governing Board (NNC GB) approves two new policies in its very first meeting for the year 2021. Assistant Secretary Alex V. Avila of DOLE presides the meeting. Of the 3 agenda items discussed, two policies were approved: (1)  Guidelines on Dietary Supplementation in the First 1000 Days (GDS F1K) and (2) the Joint Memorandum Circular on the National Dietary Supplementation Program (JMC NDSP). These are both essential to achieve  the targets of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) for 2022, particular on stunting and wasting. The other agenda for information of the board is the designation/appointment of the Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN) adviser in the Philippines.


In 2019, the Government of the Philippines (GOP) entered into a cooperation agreement with the United Nations Children’s Fund for the period 2019-2023 through the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). The goal of this agreement is for the most marginalized, vulnerable and at-risk people to benefit from inclusive and quality services, and to live in a supportive environment wherein nutrition, food security and health are ensured and protected. Part of the agreement is for UNICEF to provide various assistance programs to the GOP, one of which aims to develop and strengthen the capacity of the three branches of the Philippine government on evaluation. For the Legislative branch, the Senate Economic Planning Office (SEPO) and the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) of the House of Representatives have been chosen as partners to implement the program. This partnership eventually led to the formulation of a knowledge-sharing forum series on evaluation in the form of the National Evaluation Policy (NEP) Forum. The 1st NEP Forum held in February focused on the evaluation of the K to 12 Program, while the 2nd NEP Forum held online on 3 November focused on the formative evaluation of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) 2017-2022.

 2021020 2 Pager on SUN Business Network 1
 2021020 2 Pager on SUN Business Network 2

NNC ED as panel

The Executive Director of the National Nutrition Council (NNC), Dr. Azucena M. Dayanghirang, served as one of the four panelists during the webinar entitled "Micronutrients & Immunity: Fortified rice for healthy diets during COVID-19 in Asia."

During the panel discussion, Dr. Dayanghirang shared the successful implementation of rice fortification in Davao de Oro, where the provincial government was able to require the use of iron-fortified rice for school feeding programs. The sustained implementation was attributed to several factors including the presence of a local producer of iron-fortified rice in the province, the political support to implement mandatory rice fortification through the enactment of ordinances, the regular conduct of monitoring, as well as the continuous information dissemination on the use and importance of iron-fortified rice through nutrition education classes and nutrition counseling.


The formative evaluation of the PPAN under the NEDA-UNDP Strategic Monitoring and Evaluation Project was conducted to determine to what degree LGUs have applied the PPAN 2017-2022 strategic thrusts in nutrition programming. It pointed out some successes of the PPAN such as the 1) LGU mobilization as measured by the support to PPAN programs at the national, regional and provincial levels, and 2) sustained nutrition action planning processes at the national level. It also described challenges or constraints inhibiting effective nutrition planning, coordination, and delivery.