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 By Marie Joy S. Carbungco

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga (PIA) — National Nutrition Council (NNC) Central Luzon convened nutrition workers and other stakeholders to strengthen its advocacy on early child care and development, as well as the First 1,000 Days. 

During the webinar, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 3 Regional Director and Regional Nutrition Committee (RNC) Member Marites Maristela stressed the importance of proper nutrition among members of the family, especially during this time of pandemic. 

“When members of the family are healthy, we have more protection against any disease or virus that we encounter as we go along…But of course, since children are more vulnerable to diseases, there is a need to give focus on their health and nutrition,” she said. 

Maristela added that it is important to discuss issues on health and nutrition as this is just one of the many issues that children face when it comes to their right to survival.

During the webinar, Regional Council for the Welfare of Children (RSCWC) 3 Coordinator Aple Shane Lomoljo discussed the salient features of  Republic Act 10410 or the Early Years Act.

In her talk, she presented the National System for Early Child Care and Development (ECCD), giving emphasis on the recognition of other ECCD learning modalities aside from Day Care Centers; as well as the recognition of other paraprofessionals and volunteers. 

“The active involvement of parents, especially that most children are stay-at-home during pandemic, is crucial in the total development of a child. There is also a need to establish functional ECCD councils at the local level in order to ensure continuous service delivery,” she said. 

Lomoljo also discussed the roles of local government units in the implementation of the law, especially in terms of budget augmentation, provision of facilities, and establishment of community based ECCD programs. 

Meanwhile, NNC 3 Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Ana Maria Rosaldo discussed the salient features of RA 11148 or the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act. 

“It is important that LGUs support this law while at the same time strengthening family community support systems as this aims to secure the country’s future in the hands of healthy women and children,” she said.

Rosaldo also discussed the key provisions of the law, as well as the role of LGUs to ensure the integration of nutrition services for the first 1,000 days. 

Lastly, she called on participants to strengthen service delivery, and monitoring and evaluation by advocating for a whole-of-government approach to health and nutrition.