LGUs urged to strengthen nutrition programs

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BAGUIO CITY – The Regional Nutrition Council (RNC) appealed to the local government units  (LGUs) regionwide to strengthen their respective nutrition programs with the increase in their internal revenue allotment (IRA) shares from the implementation of the Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the Mandanas-Garcia petitions by creating nutrition offices and hiring of permanent nutrition action officers with adequate support staff to coordinate and oversee nutrition program implementation in their areas of jurisdiction.

Under RNC Resolution No. 005, series of 2021, absence of full-time staff to oversee nutrition programs in provinces and municipalities of the Cordillera is one of the concerns that need to be addressed under the strategy for capacitating human resources for health and nutrition in the 2017-2022 regional development plan.

The RNC stated that improved nutrition during childhood can lead to better productivity among the population and improved overall development of a local government can contribute to the regional development plan 2017-2022 sector outcome 1: ‘improved nutrition and health for all towards accelerating human capital development and addressing human inequalities, a 3rd pillar of the Philippine Development Plan.’

LGUs will be receiving substantial increase in their respective IRA beginning 2022 as per SC ruling on the Mandanas-Garcia petition with a projected increase in IRA of the local governments by 27.61 percent.

According to the RNC, the increase of LGU IRA will be an opportunity for local governments in funding and delivery of devolved programs by virtue of the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code of the Philippines where health and nutrition are among the devolved programs to the local governments.

Ironically, the RNC pointed out that funding for nutrition is generally inadequate where 100 percent of provinces and cities and 92 percent of municipalities do not have full-time nutrition action officers such that nutrition functions are performed by designated personnel on top of their regular functions, an issue highlighted in the regional development plan.

The RNC underscored that a strong LGU nutrition program is needed to ensure the implementation of localized Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition towards accelerating human capital development through nutritional well-being and health of the population.

Based on the 2020 Operation Timbang results, 10 percent of children 0-59 months are reportedly stunted.

The RNC will be coursing the aforesaid request to the Regional Development Council (RDC) committee on social development to make the appeal to the LGUs to strengthen their respective nutrition programs with the expected increase in RA with the upcoming implementation of the SC ruling on the Mandanas-Garcia petition by creating nutrition offices and hiring of permanent nutrition action officers with adequate support staff to coordinate and oversee the implementation of nutrition programs in their areas of jurisdiction.

For the past several decades, the implementation of nutrition programs by the local governments had been neglected with the inability of local governments to put in place appropriate offices and personnel to implement nutrition programs in the grassroots level. By HENT

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