Press Release
May 13, 2017


Sen. Grace Poe called for the immediate passage of the First 1,000 Days bill that seeks to provide Filipino mothers and children the highest standard of healthcare, full protection and support.

"Habang nasa tiyan pa lang ang bata ay dapat may proper nutrition at medical support at dapat napapakain ng tama ang mga nanay," Poe stressed in a speech delivered before the Soroptimist International of the Philippines, an organization focused on improving the lives of women and girls.

While the First 1,000 Days program has a P294-million budget this year, Poe said a law would ensure continuity of the much-needed natal care program for expectant mothers and healthcare and feeding program for children.

The lady senator, who filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 161, has been pushing for the institutionalization of the nutrition-driven initiative since joining the legislature in 2013, as various research suggest that the Philippines still has a high incidence of hunger.

SB 161 aims to provide a comprehensive healthcare program in every barangay, which includes nutrition and family counselling, proper breastfeeding of children, nutritional support for pregnant and nursing mothers, treatment of malnourished children, and other timely interventions.

The program also ensures support from the point of conception to the child's 2nd birthday--the most crucial stage of human development. Citing studies by the UNICEF, Poe said chronic malnutrition in the first two years will impair a child for life and leave him with lower chances of finishing school and becoming productive.

"We know that women usually have to take care of the entire household first and put themselves last. Kaya sa mga tahanan na may maliit na budget, importante ang panukalang batas na ito para tutukan ang kalusugan ng ating mga nanay," Poe added.

The Senator is also co-author of SB 1297 or An Act Creating a National School Feeding Program to Combat Hunger and Undernutrition for all Basic Education Students. Under the measure, the Department of Education, in coordination with the National Nutrition Council and the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, shall prepare a menu to be served to all public basic education students. The menu needs to be drawn up according to age range, type of school, and local cultural eating preferences, within recommended standards. At least one-third of the daily nutritional requirement shall be provided based on the Philippine Dietary Reference Intake.

Poe wrote President Duterte on Sept. 1 last year to certify the two nutrition measures as urgent and include them as part of the administration's priority bills, saying immediate approval and subsequent government interventions are necessary to address malnutrition in the country.

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