Press Release
July 19, 2013

Reports on nutritional deficiency alarming - Sen. Nancy
...says inquiry and review on existing health laws, programs needed

Senator Nancy Binay expressed concern over the nutritional status of children following reports that malnutrition is still widespread in the Philippines in spite of exisiting nutritional programs of the government.

Binay plans to file a resolution calling for an immediate inquiry to review the current health and nutrition laws and check if these are properly implemented by agencies concerned.

Findings of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute's (FNRI) 2011 national nutrition survey showed that a large number of children were born underweight, had heights lower for their age and were suffering from acute malnutrition. The report categorized children according to age from 0 to 5 years old and 5 to 10 years old.

"Nakakagulat at medyo nakakabahala ang findings na ito ng FNRI. This research proves that not all Filipino children are receiving the health benefits that our government can provide for them. We need to work and review our existing health laws and programs to see if these still provide the necessary health care and nutritional support that our youth need," Binay said.

According to the report, 15.9% of children aged 0 to 4 years old were born less than 5.5 lbs, which is considered to be below the norm.

The survey also revealed that 20.2% of the children in this age bracket were found to be underweight, 33.6% were stunted and 7.3% had acute malnutrition.

The report also detailed that the children in the 5 to 10 year old category suffered far worse, 32% were found to be underweight, 33.6% were stunted and 8.5% were suffering from acute malnutrition.

The survey also showed that malnutrition was more prevalent in Visayas and Mindanao. For the 0 to 5 year old age bracket, Western Visayas had the highest count of underweight children with 19.3%, followed by Bicol with 18.6% and SOCCSKSARGEN had 18.2%.

"Given these statistics, we need to know what has happened to our government's programs against malnutrition and see if these are implemented effectively and efficiently. Kailangan nating tutukan ito dahil nakataya ang buhay at future ng ating mga kababataan," the lady senator added.

Binay also stressed that legislators need to check current laws that govern the implementation of nutritional programs and provide further support to government agencies and bureaus facilitating these programs.

In her first move as a lawmaker, Binay filed several priority bills pushing for the welfare of women and children. Among these is a bill calling for the exclusion of refined sugar from the list of products covered by Republic Act 8976 or the Philippine Food Fortification Act of 2000 due to various practical industry issues.

"Mabilis ang pagbabago sa panahon natin ngayon and we need to improve our laws in order for us to adapt. With this malnutrition report, we have to immediately check where our current laws and programs have failed and we work on these. Nakasalalay dito ang kalusugan ng ating mga anak," Binay said.

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