1Congratulations,  Mabalacat City for acquiring a Mother-Baby Friendly Workplace Certification from the Department of Health Central Luzon Center for Health Development (DOH CL CHD)! 

The City Government of Mabalacat was the first among the 137 local government units in Central Luzon to receive the Mother-Baby Friendly Workplace Certification from the DOH CL CHD. The certification was issued by the DOH CL CHD Regional Director and CL Regional Nutrition Committee Chair Dr. Cesar C. Cassion on 10 September 2020 and is valid for three years.

A “mother-baby friendly workplace” certification means that Mabalacat City Government ensures the promotion and practice of breastfeeding by providing healthy and safe working conditions for women through the establishment of a lactation station or facility. The city government also instituted a 40-minute break for breastfeeding employees to express their milk and provided information materials on breastfeeding for pregnant women employees.

The breastfeeding station is located at the Business One Stop Shop Area of the City Hall, well-lit,  with comfortable sofa and is equipped with basic amenities such as a lavatory, small refrigerator, small table, breast pumps and covered containers. A staff from the City Nutrition Office (CNO) and a breastfeeding counselor are assigned at the station to assist lactating mothers.

The initiative of Mabalacat City to put up a lactation station in the workplace is an encouragement to other LGUs and other sectors to establish similar facilities in their workplaces.

Mabalacat City Government opened its new breastfeeding station through the initiative of City Mayor and Chairperson of City Nutrition Committee, Honorable Crisostomo C. Garbo, City Administrator Atty. Emmanuel Ignacio and the City Nutrition Office (CNO), located at the Business One Stop Shop Area of the City Hall. The breastfeeding station is adequately provided with the necessary equipment and other items that a breastfeeding mother would need such as a comfortable chair, wash area, refrigerator to store milk, breast pump, among others.

The facility was established not only that it is required by law, but is intended for City Hall employees who need to express their breastmilk during work hours and for walk-in clients who need a private space to breastfeed their infants or express their breastmilk. A CNO staff and breastfeeding counselors are assigned at the station to assist nursing mothers.

Republic Act 10028 or Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009 mandates the establishments of lactation stations in workplaces, provision of breastfeeding breaks for working breastfeeding mothers, establishment of human milk banks in health institutions, inclusion of breastfeeding in curriculum of schools and declaring August of each year as Breastfeeding Awareness Month. The law also provides for the necessary support services to enable breastfeeding mothers to combine family obligations with work responsibilities. Lactation accommodation will also help breastfeeding moms to ease their transition in returning to work following the birth of their child. Having a breastfeeding lactation will encourage, protect, and support the practice of breastfeeding in the workplace and sustain it throughout the first 1,000 days of life of a child.

Exclusive breastfeeding is necessary from birth up to six months while continued breastfeeding is promoted for the next 550 days covering six to 24 months with timely and age appropriate introduction of complementary foods.

Congratulations to the City Nutrition Committee of Mabalacat City Government!

Author: NO II Rose Anne M. Cuyco

Guagua MayorGUAGUA, Pampanga, Oct. 22 (PIA) --  Municipal government of Guagua vowed to continuously support the town’s agriculture sector despite the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In an interview, Mayor Dante Torres said the local government continues to implement various programs that will not only help farmers and fisher folks, but will ensure food security and sufficiency among Guaguaeños. 

Among these, he said, is the Manukan sa Bakuran project wherein beneficiaries will be given 12 chicks that they will cultivate for possible reproduction. 

“Under the program, the beneficiaries will raise the chicks until they lay eggs. Once they hatched their eggs, each beneficiary will then pay back five chicks to the municipal government. We will collect these chicks and will give those to other beneficiaries. In addition, we will also provide a cage and feeds. This way, we can ensure the sustainability of our program,” Torres said.

Aside from that, the mayor said they also provided monggo to augment the income of farmers during the dry season. 

“One of our problems here is the lack of irrigation. That is why in order to help our farmers, we decided to put up our own communal irrigation. I am also planning to talk with the director of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to ask for a solar irrigation where our people can get water,” he said.

LCE ADVOCACY WEBINAR 1Last 3 September 2020, the National Nutrition Council-Region III (NNC-Region III), in coordination and with the support of the Department of Interior and Local Government-Regional Office 3 (DILG-RO3) organized a webinar entitled  “Building Pandemic Resiliency of Local Government Units through Investments in Nutrition in the 2021 Annual Investment Program,” for the Local Chief Executives (LCEs) of Central Luzon. The webinar was attended by more than a hundred LCEs from various parts of Central Luzon, members of the Central Luzon Regional Nutrition Committee (CL-RNC), and the Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) via Zoom teleconference and watched by hundreds more through Facebook where it was also broadcasted in real-time.  

The webinar aimed to disseminate the current nutritional state of the region, and more importantly advocate and raise awareness on the  importance of investing in nutrition for the LCEs of Central Luzon. The webinar would also have not been successful if not for the efforts of staff that made it possible, Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator (RNPC) Ana Maria B. Rosaldo, Nutrition Officer III (NO III) Angelita M. Pasos, NO II Rose Anne M. Cuyco, and NO I Antonette Gail D. Garcia, and also the resource speakers that gave their time to share their expertise and advocate for better nutrition programs and policies through investing in nutrition.  The resource speakers include: Director Cesar C. Cassion, Regional Director (RD) of the Department of Health-Central Luzon Center for Health Development (DOH-CL CHD); Director Julie J. Daquioag, RD of the DILG-RO3; Dr. Azucena M. Dayanghirang, Executive Director (ED) of NNC; Ms. Chona F. Patalen, and Ms. Cristina G. Mabalad, Senior Science Research Specialists of the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI); and Mr. Reginaldo Guillen, NO IV of NNC-Central Office.

The program proper started with an acknowledgement of participants followed by a welcome message from RD Cassion who is also the Chairperson of the CL-RNC, delivered by  Assistant Regional Director (ARD) Juliana Reyes. RD Cassion thanked everyone for attending the first ever nutrition webinar for the LCEs. He mentioned that the webinar, a Local Government Unit (LGU) mobilization strategy, is a key strategic thrust of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) 2017-2022, and Central Luzon Regional Plan of Action (RPAN) 2019-2022, taking into account the new platform via zoom as platform of virtual communication reaching out to the LCEs  who are the chairpersons of the provincial, city, municipality, and barangay nutrition committees. RD Cassion also highlighted how he hoped that the participants will be able to appreciate the synergistic relationship of nutrition and development and that the two are co-dependent of each other, that nutrition will not happen without development and vice-versa. He also hoped that the realization of this relationship will be strengthened upon the conduct of the online workshops on integrating nutrition in the annual investment plans of the various LGUs of Central Luzon. RD Cassion ended his message on a hopeful note that everyone’s eyes be opened and enable everyone to not just see the value of nutrition, but as new perspective that everyone will get from the webinar and the following online workshops.

RD Cassion’s message was followed by an inspiration message from RD Daquioag, Vice-Chair of the CL-RNC, delivered by Mr. Ener Cambronero. RD Daquioag stated how stunting remains to be one of the main nutritional challenges in the country and how its consequences affects our nation as a whole. She also cited the different laws and policies in the country that support the scaling up for nutrition, but mentioned how despite these laws and policies, LGUs need a strong political commitment to play their role to ensure that programs, projects, and activities, that are invested and included in their AIPs are addressing these pervasing health and nutrition problems in the country. She also strongly advocated for the cooperation and coordinate with the government agencies that will guide everyone in achieving the goal to reduce malnutrition in the country, especially at this time of heath emergency. She also hoped that everyone attending the webinar will understand the weight why nutrition should be integrated in the AIPs.



Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up." – Oliver Wendell Holmes

As the entire Central Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine due to COVID-19 pandemic, NNC-Region III anticipated the wide range of outcomes to the nutritional status of the vulnerable groups such as infants, preschool children, pregnant and lactating women, older persons and persons with disabilities due to disruption in routine health, decreased accessibility to food and limited or lack of income, among others.

On 29 May 2020, the National Nutrition Council (NNC) Central Luzon gathered the members of the Central Luzon Association of Nutrition Action Officers (CLANAO) and Nutrition Program Coordinators for Health in a virtual meeting in order to generate reports about the current nutrition and health situation from the gound (local) levels.

The meeting was presided by Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Ms. Ana Maria B. Rosaldo, with the presence of Ms. Margarita S. Natividad, Nutritionist-Dietitian of DOH CLCHD, who provided information about the gaps and commodities available at the DOH Central Luzon CHD. The NNC-Region III Secretariat was also present to document the proceedings.

Discussion during the meeting focused on the 1) Gaps and needs of supplies; 2) Regional Nutrition Cluster initiatives and response; 3) Good practices; and 4) Accomplishment of the CLANAO members.

The meeting was very productive and participative as attendees reported the challenges faced by individuals and communities in their respective LGUs, such as lost of livelihood, hunger due to lack of food or insufficient money to buy food. Notable was that most of the households with undernourished under-five children, pregnant and lactating women, persons with disabilities and older persons were prioritized by the LGUs in the provision of relief goods and commodities during the quarantine period.

Many of the LGUs became innovative and very creative in the provision of family food packs. The usual rice, noodles and canned goods food packs were enhanced with the inclusion of nutri-bun, fresh vegetables and fruits, eggs, fresh fish, chicken among others. Still many others were engaged in the establishment of Nutri-Wheel (mobile markets) and Community Kitchen to make basic food commodities like rice, eggs, vegetables, pork, chicken and fish available and those produced by local farmers more accessible to the families.

for bns gif 3It was in 2009 when the municipal, city and provincial BNS federations of the seven (7) provinces and 14 cities of Central Luzon were organized into a regional federated group, named Central Luzon Association of BNSs, Incorporated or CLABI. Ms. Filipina A. Delos Reyes, president of the local association of BNSs-Bayanihang Bulakenyo in Bulacan Province, was the first elected president and the longest-running CLABI president from 2009 to 2019.

It was in December 2013 when CLABI was registered with the Security Exchange Commission, with the assistance of Ms. Evelyn A. Gamurot, CNPC of Tarlac City and president of the Association of Central Luzon District and City Nutrition Program Coordinators.

The regular meetings of the CLABI officers twice or thrice a year made them more closer, active and visible members of their community. Whenever NNC-Region III reached out to them during, program implementation reviews, trainings and gatherings like BNS Congress, held every two years by NNC-Central Office, their involvement and support to various projects and activities in the community, municipality and provinces grew stronger and motivated.  More so, the hardship brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic situations in their communities did not hinder them to share their knowledge, their open hands and all-out support even during enhanced community quarantine.

When a new set of officers was elected on 4 December 2019 at the Saint Ferdinand Hall, Ephatha Development Center-SACOP in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga, the association expressed their desire to hold the induction of its board of officers outside the regional center and their hope that one of the governors in Central Luzon will officiate the oathtaking ceremony.

The big event came on 14 August 2020, the first ever online oath taking ceremony was made possible via Zoom teleconference which was simulcast via Facebook livestream. This special activity coincided with the celebration of Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa and Breastfeeding Month which made the day quite memorable for the 21 members of the CLABI Board and Presidents of their respective provinces and cities. A wish come true, an induction with a governor.

The Virtual Oath Taking Ceremony was officiated by Bulacan Governor Daniel R. Fernando, Chairperson of the Central Luzon Regional Development Council-Subcommittee on Social Development. Governor Fernando spared his precious time with the CLABI Board, not only encouraging them, but also honouring them for painstakingly doing their jobs bounded by the strong ties between the national government and the local government, particularly at the barangay level, the strong ties among the families, health and nutrition workers and the local leaders working as a team to deliver nutrition services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Fernando also answered some queries of the BNS soon after delivering his inspirational message.