October 4, 2023

The Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Children’s First One Thousand Days Coalition (CFDC) are planning to roll out a nationwide nutrition intervention program that seeks to address malnutrition and stunting among Filipino children up to three years of age.

DSWD Sec. Rex Gatchalian discussed the program during his meeting with CFDC chief Joey Lina recently.

The meeting, initiated by the CFDC, a non-government organization, was also attended by Department of the Interior and Local Government Sec. Benhur Abalos and Department of Health Sec. Teodoro Herbosa.

Gatchalian initially cited the community-driven approach in addressing malnutrition in the first 1,000 days of infants through nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive programs.

He emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts among government agencies, specifically the DSWD, DILG, DOH, and the private sector for the nutrition intervention program.

He said the Philippine Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Project (PMNP), Food Stamp Program (FSP) and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) are among the DSWD programs designed to help address malnutrition and stunting among Filipino children.

The FSP, he said, is the newest addition to the Marcos administration’s anti-hunger program, which includes single-parents as well as pregnant and lactating mothers as among the beneficiaries.

He said the Asian Development Bank will provide $3 million or P166.77M for the six-month pilot run of the FSP in five areas, including the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao categorized as a former conflict area.

Other areas are one each in geographically isolated regions or provinces, in an urban poor setting, in calamity-stricken areas, and in a rural poor area.

Gatchalian also called on members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger (IATF-ZH) to continue converging its programs and services to fight stunting.

He said convergence of the IATF-ZH members, other national government agencies, the private sector, and development partners will make sure that the country’s commitments to end hunger, ensure food security and address stunting among Filipino children are properly undertaken.

“As our ways forward, let us continue to converge our programs and services into a coalition to fight stunting,” Gatchalian said as he presided over the first regular meeting of the IATF-ZH as its newly-designated chairperson at DSWD Central Office in Quezon City.

He reiterated the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to ensure the IATF-ZH is focused on addressing stunting and malnutrition in the first 1,000 days or from the phase of infancy up to the child’s 3rd year, through nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programs. – PNA