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Quezon was CROWNed by Nat’l. Nutrition Council


Quezon Gov. David Suarez (3rd from left) holds the CROWN award along with Senator Sonny Angara (2nd from left), Asst. Sec. of Health Maria Bernardita Flores (left) Alona partylist Rep. Anna Villaraza-Suarez (3rd from right), provincial agriculturist Roberto Gajo and Undersec. Austere Panadero of the Dept. of Interior and Local Government.   (JOHN BELLO)

by John A. Bello

LUCENA CITY – For having consistently been awarded the Green Banner Award from 2015, 2016 and 2017, Quezon province was conferred the CROWN (Consistent Regional Outstanding Winner in Nutrition) award by the National Nutrition Council (NNC) last Tuesday at the Phil. International Convention Center in Pasay city.

The award was received by Quezon Gov. David ‘Jayjay’ Suarez and wife, Alona partylist Rep. Anna Villaraza-Suarez and provincial agriculturist Roberto Gajo as head of Provincial Nutrition Action Office (PNAO).

The NNC conducts yearly the award ceremony since 1978 to recognize local government units and barangay nutrition scholars (BNS) which have shown effective implementation of nutrition programs in their communities.

“Nutrition is the bedrock of development. It all begins with a political decision to address malnutrition. Hindi ito matatapos overnight, but we need to start now. Kaya nagtatagumpay ang programa is because we were able to harmonize our infrastructure, social welfare, agriculture and education programs with our nutrition program.” said Suarez in his brief acceptance speech of the CROWN award.

Since 2014 up to present, the provincial government under Suarez has launched and strengthened PNAO functions and hiring of full-time staff since, according to the 2008 National Nutrition Survey, there was 33.4% of underweight among children in the province in 2013 and 21.7% in 2015.

From 2015 to last year, recruitment and training of at least one BNS for every barangay in Quezon has been undertaken with the passage of Provincial Ordinance 2015-45 that mandated the deployment of BNS in every barangay and allocating a budget for the BNS program.

Since then, the province has achieved Green Banner Award for 3 successive years from 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The war against malnutrition was boosted with the launching of the Quezon One Thousand Days of Life (Q1K) program which targets both the health and nutrition of mother and child. About 1,000 pregnant mothers were targeted for the pilot program in 2016 and last year, the program saw its implementation in 39 towns and 1 component city in the whole province.

“We benefitted from training given by the NNC in Region 4-A on nutrition program management. In 2014, together with some municipal nutrition action officers we attended the NPM training. We also attended the NNC training on BNS program. We then conducted echo trainings for others and other MNAO in the province,” said Julius Parcarey, provincial focal person for nutrition in Quezon.

Gajo said only Quezon and Davao del Norte provinces were included in the compendium of actions on nutrition by the NNC. The compendium of action on nutrition documents the good practices and experiences in nutrition of progressive local government units all over the country.

From a high of 16% malnutrition level in the province, Suarez crowed it has now been reduced to 8.8% last year.