BacnotanJuly 23, 2021 - The Municipal Nutrition Action Office of Bacnotan, La Union successfully spearheaded the “Laking 1000 Online Nutrition Forum” via Zoom attended by about 180 members of their Barangay Nutrition Committees and other nutrition stakeholders of the municipality.

Hon. Divina C. Fontanilla, Bacnotan’s Vice-Mayor and MNC Vice chairperson led the said forum together with the following Municipal Nutrition Committee members who are present: Dr. Andy William O. Mendoza, (MHO), Dr. Divina Gracia Apigo (MAO), , Head Teacher Delia Matias, DEPED Bacnotan Nutrition Focal Person, Ms. Lorena A. Bravo (Midwife II), Ms. Jade Aleli Berganio (Sanitary Inspector 1), Ms. Brenda Villuan (Midwife III), Mr. Mathew Almojuela (Holcim CSR), Ms. Cherry Mae Bucaoto (DCW 1), MSWDO, Mr. John Philip Gabriel (MNAO) and 3 representatives from the Office of the Mayor namely Ms. Alene Jean Dacanay, Mr. Ramil Almoite, Mr. Franz Anthony Gutierrez and Mr. Rufino Lito Fontanilla (ABC President).

Dr. Mendoza shared in his opening message the importance of Republic Act 11148 as An Act Scaling Up the National and Local Health and Nutrition Programs Through a Strengthened Integrated Strategy for Maternal, Neonatal, Child Health and Nutrition in the First One Thousand (1000) Days of Life to address malnutrition in all forms targeting mothers, infant and young children as beneficiaries.

“Good nutrition is the foundation of child’s survival and health development. Isu nga no iti maysa nga ubing ket na-conceive nga awan ti proper nutrition, rummuar ti ubing nga low birth weight ket agresulta dayta iti poor development not only physically but intellectually. (Good nutrition is the foundation of child’s survival and health development. And if a baby is conceived without proper nutrition, it may result to poor development not only physically but intellectually)”, he added.

Ms. Jovy Mae Peñera, Nutrition Officer of the National Nutrition Council- Regional Office served as the resource speaker and discussed the topic “Curbing Malnutrition through PPAN and the First 1000 Days” and presented the main goal of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition in addressing malnutrition as well as the programs under the nutrition specific interventions.

As focus of this year’s Nutrition Month celebration, she also reiterated the importance of the First 1000 Days of life, its lifetime benefits and why Barangay Nutrition Committees should adopt this program in their respective LGUs. Sharing the key message for the Pag-asa sa ABAKADA which means Alagaan ang mga Buntis, Breastfeeding kay Baby, Komplementary feeding na sapat, Dapat lahat suportado ang PPAN, she emphasized the importance of support from all stakeholders to meet all desired actions through PPAN.

A panel discussion followed with the following reactors: ARD of POPCOM Region 1, Ms. Wilma Ulpindo; Municipal Agriculture Officer, Dr. Divina Gracia G. Apigo; Vice Mayor Divina Fontanilla.

Dr. Apigo shared their on-going activities in the LGU specifically in distribution of seeds to barangay community gardens which had a good impact in their community especially during the lockdown where people started growing their own pesticide-free backyard gardens t o support household food security.

As the former focal person for the Nutrition Program, Hon. Vice-Mayor Divina Fontanilla shared their process in scaling up nutrition funds and programs for the past years until present. One notable accomplishment she mentioned is the creation of permanent Nutrition Officer II plantilla with Salary Grade 14 for Nutrition Action Officer in the LGU of Bacnotan which is the only town in the province to do so.

She emphasized the importance of having a full-time and dedicated MNAO to serve as the lead person carrying out the local nutrition programs of the LGU.

She also enjoined the barangays to create nutrition-related ordinances for continuous implementation and funding for nutrition programs. Moreover, PopCom ARD Wilma Ulpindo promoted family planning, maintaining good health which will result to reduction of malnutrition rate in the community.

“In the promotion of total well-being, parents should maintain provision of all needs providing nutritious food, proper education and open communication with their children. In responsible parenthood, there should be a shared responsibility between a mother and a father,” she added.

The Laking 1000 Online Forum provided timely information in the advocacy of implementation of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition. This provided opportunities for the Barangay Nutrition Committees to adopt the PPAN in their local nutrition action plan.

The participants were also encouraged to increase support to nutrition programs and its implementation, with focus on the first 1000 days with adolescents, pregnant and lactating women, and infants and young children as primary beneficiaries ensuring the delivery of health and nutrition programs in the First 1000 Days as promulgated through Republic Act 11148.

The event was successfully concluded led and moderated by the Municipal Nutrition Action Officer of Bacnotan, Mr. John Philip Gabriel. /JMPP