Press Release
July 16, 2010

Loren proposes a nutrition worker per barangay
to reduce undernourishment in the country

Senator Loren Legarda declared that every barangay should have a "Barangay Nutrition Worker" responsible for delivering nutrition services and other related activities to the community, such as community health, backyard food production, environmental sanitation, supplemental feeding and family planning efforts.

"In 1978, Presidential Decree 1569 was issued creating the Barangay Nutrition Program. However, there is a need to review, and update this law given the current health and economic situation of the country," Legarda reveals.

By virtue of Senate Bill No. 9, the position of a "Barangay Nutrition Worker" shall be created and shall have the following qualifications:

1. Bona fide resident of the barangay for at least one (1) year with the ability to speak the dialect if possible;
2. Possession of leadership potentials and the initiative and willingness to serve the barangay for at least one (1) year;
3. Willingness to learn and to teach what he learned to the barangay people;
4. At least a high school graduate;
5. Physically and mentally fit; and
6. At least 18 years old but not more than 60 years old.

To help the Barangay Nutrition Workers and to improve the quality of health and nutrition services they provide, they shall undergo training programs and be given incentives such as availment of scholarship grants to study a related field in any state college. They shall also be given a monthly allowance.

"There must be serious and earnest efforts to confront malnutrition at the grassroots level. According to our Food and Nutrition Research Institute, an alarming four million (4,000,000) Filipino children are still malnourished. On the same hand, under-nutrition also affects 28.4 percent of pregnant women. This creates a vicious cycle because underweight pregnant women are likely to deliver babies with low birth weight, who in turn, become vulnerable to under-nutrition, poor health, and delayed psychosocial development. We must do everything to stop this cycle of malnutrition plaguing our country."

Legarda impresses upon us that, "The importance of adequate maternal nutrition and adequate intake of proper food and nutrients cannot be stressed enough. This is where our Barangay Nutrition Workers come in. They can educate the Filipino people in each and every barangay how to eat and live right. Promoting a healthy citizenry will go a long way towards the country's economic and social development."

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