To support the nutrition education simultaneous campaign with its thrust to improve local nutritional status through household gardening in Central Visayas, the MHAM Community Extension Services Office (CESO) through its current director participated in the 44th Nutrition Month Celebration Launching Program as one of the event partners which was held at the Pick and Pay Park Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue City, Cebu last July 2, 2018 from 7:00 in the morning to 12:00 noon.
The half day event began with a holy mass officiated by Rev. Fr. Jose Rendon Jr., CM participated by nutrition stakeholders, barangay councilors, nursing students, media partners, guests, school children of Subangdaku, barangay residents, and public and private participating schools in the cities of Mandaue and Cebu.
Spearheaded by National Nutrition Council Region 7 (NNC 7), the event was collaborated by the Central Visayas Nutrition Committee in partnership with the Mandaue City Nutrition Committee led by Hon. Gabriel Luis Quisumbing, Department of Health (DOH), Department of Agriculture (DA), Mandaue City Tourism Office and Subangdaku Mandaue City Government to promote strong awareness on the importance of nutrition in the local communities with its theme, “Ugaliing magtanim, Sapat na nutrisyon aanihin”.
In his welcome address, the Barangay Captain and Chairperson of Subangdaku Nutrition Committee, Hon. Ernie Manatad cited the importance of promoting the nutrition development in the country by eating healthy foods. “We are what we eat. If we keep on eating unhealthy foods, we will also become unhealthy”, Manatad said.
Gracing the launching program as event partners includes the Nutrition Dietitian Association of the Philippines-Cebu Chapter, Association of Deans of Philippine Colleges of Nursing, Inc., Media Information Network for Nutrition and Development 7, World Vision, MHAM College of Medicine, Inc., University of San Carlos, Salinas Foods, Inc. and DYLA.
Current president of the Philippine Association of Nutrition, Inc. (PAN, Inc.) Cebu Chapter and CESO director, Mr. Jarvis S. Prochina, represented in behalf of MHAM and PAN Cebu.
Since it has been established, the MHAM CESO is relentless in addressing the nutrition and food security problems to partner communities with its main thrust to put health in the hands of the people particularly in upland areas outside Cebu City. In 2016, a community-based Nutrition Resource Development Center was launched during the MOA signing in Barangay Calidngan, Carcar City, Cebu in partnership with Carcar City Sangguniang Panlungsod.
Meanwhile the Media Information Network for Nutrition and Development 7 through DYLA 909 kHz led the regional simultaneous food gardening with Regional Executive Director of the Department of Agriculture, Atty. Salvador S. Diputado; Mandaue City Nutrition Action Officer, Dr. Edna Ceno; Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator, Dr. Parolita Mission; Chairperson of the Regional Nutrition Committee technical group, Ms. Melinda Gallares; Department of Agriculture Science and Research Specialist III, Ms. Nimfa Davis; and other guests.
Regional Executive Director of the Department of Agriculture, Atty. Salvador S. Diputado also emphasized in his inspiring message the importance of backyard gardening program in the province of Cebu. He is also the Vice Chair of the Regional Nutrition Committee.
Pledged to uphold the right of every Filipino to have access to healthy and nutritious food, the Nutrition Month Pledge was led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development 7 Chair and RNC Technical Working Group, Ms. Melinda Cañares.
The ribbon-cutting of the Mandaue Agri-Fair, urban gardening lecture-demonstration led by Ms. Nimfa Davis and cooking demonstration from selected BSND students from USC-Talamban Campus completed the activities to encourage full participation among local households.
In an interview with the regional nutrition program coordinator to the national council, Dr. Parolita Mission, she stated that the regional nutrition committee had regular and frequent meetings prior to the event to ensure that the annual celebration be successfully achieved.
“This activity today is very significant, in fact we initiated it to the national council through the regional nutrition committee. We are initiating this action on the launching event to portray that we can do it as a model for the simultaneous planting with the community and we are also engaging our leaders to sustain our food gardening activity. The participants can bring with them their plants so they can have their own and can harvest them in due time”, Dr. Mission said in an interview.
Dr. Mission also added that the committee was aiming to attain more engagements and participation from household members to promote home gardening to have food security at all times.
Hosted by Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Section-Department of Agriculture (RAFIS-DA) Information Officer III, Mr. Melquiades B. Ibarra and NNC 7 Nutrition Officer I, Ms. Norre Jean V. delos Santos, the participants were also entertained by an intermission number performed by the Subangdaku Elementary School pupils.
Aimed to nurture, grow and bear fruits for harvesting and consumption through food gardening, this year’s projects and activities were primarily focused on malnutrition as there are still nutritionally depressed areas in the region with prevalent rate in stunting, underweight and wasting.
As an event partner, MHAM has been primarily responsive to malnutrition issues with its commitment to promote a balanced and healthy lifestyle in the family and in the community. With home-grown produce from vertical garden, container garden, hydroponic garden, rooftop garden and community garden, today, growing one’s food at home isn’t just about planting but a self-sufficient endeavor in response to hunger and malnutrition and a developing sustainable plan to feed the whole family in the future. (Ana Liza Abao)