BARLIG, Mountain Province – Seven hours away from Baguio City is the town of Barlig, Mountain Province. Home to 5, 838 people, Barlig’s physical terrain being tucked away in mossy forests caused its people to be in close relationship with each other. This closeness or the culture of regarding their neighbors as their own kin resulted to the low number of malnourished children paving the way for the successful implementation of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP). Records reveal that of the 135 children enrolled in child development centers last year, there were only three children found to be malnourished.
The SFP provides food in addition to the regular meals to children currently enrolled in the child development centers as part of the DSWD’s contribution to the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) program of the government. However, even before the implementation of SFP, they have been conducting feeding program in their child development centers. Parents contributed for the ingredients and they cook for the children. Each household have their own backyard garden.
In Barangay Fiangtin which recorded no malnourished child, Child Development Worker Ms Minerva Matinac shared their secret to ensure that every child is healthy, “the parents have planted the surroundings of the center with vegetables and fruits.”
She said that the seminars and information materials provided by the Local Government Unit of Barlig and the DSWD made them conscious on preparing the three main food groups, “guided by a menu, we consciously prepare go, glow and grow foods using indigenous food ingredients readily available.”
Barangay Fiangtin has so far produced healthy and intelligent children. In 2016 and in 2017, their children won in declamation, and draw and tell contests during the Children’s Month Celebration.
In their bid to ensure that their children will only consume healthy food, Barangays Lias Silangan, Lias Kanluran and Chupac passed a resolution restricting the selling of junk foods and commercial frozen foods. Akin to this, the Municipality was also recognized by the DSWD – Cordillera Administrative Region as a Child Friendly Municipality last year.
The Municipality also initiated similar efforts to promote a healthy and productive community including the Municipal Aid for Maternal Amelioration of MAMA. The MAMA focuses on promoting maternal and childcare as well as responsible parenthood by providing cash assistance to birthing mothers.
An emergency shelter in Bauko, Mt. Province was also established that serves as a lodging house for families of patients who are confined at Luis Hora Memorial Hospital.
Girlie Matib of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office shared that most of the time the people of Barlig rely on each other, families who do not have a house are being offered accommodation by their neighbors who have spare spaces in their house. “Nobody is being left to suffer.”
By Jasmin Kiaso