Press Release
July 3, 2015


Sen. Grace Poe underscored the urgent need to protect and provide all-out support to children in the crucial first 1,000 days, when they are most vulnerable.

"This is the most critical period in the life of a Filipino child, during which he or she must be properly nourished and cared for," Poe stressed.

"Walang lugar ang pagpapabaya lalo't higit sa panahong ito ng kanilang labis na pangangailangan tungo sa tamang paglaki at paghubog ng kanilang buong kakayanan," the senator said.

Poe has filed the "First 1,000 days" bill seeking to provide Filipino children full protection and support, especially from day one in the womb until they reach the age of two.

Through her Senate Bill 2755, Poe has batted for the highest standard of health care for vulnerable children, seeking the establishment of a "first 1,000 days" program in every barangay across the country.

Under the measure, the Health department, in coordination with the Departments of the Interior and Local Government and Social Welfare and Development, National Nutrition Council and the Food and Nutrition Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DoST) shall develop the program, which includes nutrition counselling, milk feeding, treatment of malnourished children, general family counselling and intervention measures through safe and high-quality complementary food.

Poe said that the much needed program shall strengthen maternal and child health care services to ensure that no Filipino child is deprived of his or her basic right to life and health.

A World Food Program study shows that the most crucial period in the development of the child's brain is the first 1,000 days from conception. Malnutrition begins at the womb. If brain synapses are not formed properly, no amount of post-birth intervention will reverse the situation.

Malnutrition remains a huge challenge in the country. A large number of Filipino children are undernourished, 3.6 million of children 0 to 59 months are underweight, and four million are stunted, according to a UNICEF report.

"We need a strong, whole-of-society support and institutionalized, effective mechanisms to protect and bring up our children accordingly," Poe said as the country celebrates National Nutrition Month.

The proposed legislation is a "prequel" to Poe's advocacy of addressing malnutrition, with Senate Bill No. 79 or the proposed Sustansiya sa Batang Pilipino Act seeking to institutionalize a free nutri-meals program to children enrolled in all kindergarten, elementary and high schools among the first policy measures filed by the senator.

Poe filed the measure in response to a study by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) showing that 3.6 million of children aged 0-59 months are underweight and four million others are stunted. According to the FNRI-DoST, 25% or one in every four pregnant women is undernourished.

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