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    Posted January 27, 2014 by

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    Phl gov’t vs Church on population

    AT this point in time that population growth could be likened to unstoppable march of history as the Catholic Church remains a potent block in the implementation of the controversial Reproductive Health Law now pending for oral argument at the Supreme Court in Manila, Philippines, there’s a need to look into the plight of Filipino children.
    It’s a fact that in the next few years or maybe after a decade, Philippines will be galloping for survival as it can no longer feed its millions of people because of extreme poverty. The culprit, of course, is over-population. And the victims will be the children’s health as their number doubles or triples every year!
    In an effort to prevent this threatening scenario, a lady lawmaker has filed a bill creating the position of nutrition officer in every province, city and municipality to address the country's problem of under nutrition among children below five years old.
    Angelina DL. Tan, M.D. (4th District, Quezon) authored House Bill 3369 as she cited a report of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) that under-nutrition in the Philippines remains a serious problem with 3.6 million children 0-59 months underweight; and 4 million stunted.
    "There is a need to pass the bill in order to meet the fast changing needs of promoting the nutritional well-being of the general public, especially of vulnerable individuals and reduce the number of underweight children by half until 2015," Tan said.
    The bill seeks to amend Republic Act 160 or the Local Government Act of 1991.
    "Although efforts to address this problem are slowly gaining ground, they are not fast enough to meet the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing the number of underweight children by half until 2015," Tan said.
    "It is said that the damage to health, physical growth and brain development of children affected by chronic under-nutrition - stunting in the first two years - is often irreversible, impairing them for life and leaving them with lower chances of finishing school and becoming highly productive adults," Tan said.
    Under the bill, a nutritionist who will be applying in the provincial and city level must be a local resident, a registered nutritionist-dietitian with experience for at least five years, while those in the municipal level must have three years of experience.
    The nutrition officer shall take charge of the office on nutrition services, supervise the personnel and staff, and formulate program implementation guidelines and rules and regulation.
    Among others, the nutrition officer shall develop nutrition programs and projects, plans and strategies to be implemented upon approval of the governor or mayor.
    Likewise, the nutrition officer shall conduct nutrition information campaigns, coordinate with other government agencies and non-governmental organizations involved in the promotion and delivery of nutrition services, and exercise general supervision over nutrition.
    Looking at all angles, this bill is a must. But will lawmakers unite in pushing this timely measure as it goes against the Catholic faith?
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