By Roy Mabasa
United States-based charitable organization is partnering with the local government units of Siargao for a massive, four-month feeding program aimed to address malnourishment in some of the coastal municipalities and fishing villages in the island.
The Risen Savior Missions, together with Surigao del Norte 1st District Rep. Francisco Jose “Bingo” Matugas will feed some 1,850 children in all the 37 barangays in the municipalities of General Luna, Socorro, Dapa, Del Carmen, San Isidro, Burgos, Sta. Monica and San Benito, all in Siargao island.
Initially launched in January 2016, the program called “Himsog ng Bata, Bagtik na Siargaonon” aims to reduce cases of malnourishment among the children in the province, especially among the 2-6 years old kid.
“As we prepare for food security and the development of Siargao, it is also paramount that we address malnourishment in our communities to ensure our children’s ability to grow healthy and to succeed in their studies. They are the future of the island, after all,” Matugas said.
With the assistance of the different LGUs and the provincial government of Surigao del Norte, Matugas said the Risen Savior Missions will serve the children with scientifically formulated “Manna Pack,” a fortified rice mixed with either or a combination of chicken, eggs, ground pork, fish, malunggay and other vegetables for at least three times a week for the next four months beginning August 12.
Risen Savior Missions representative to the Philippines Wilfredo Valencia said Siargao is just one of the many areas in the Philippines the organization is serving for the last 12 years.
He said studies have shown that malnutrition is usually high in fishing villages, especially when rainy season sets in and the fishermen suddenly lose their livelihood and the means to adequately feed their children.
“This is where we would like to help. What we need from the volunteers and the LGUS is their commitment and dedication to the program. Siargao, through the program of Rep. Matugas, is willing to respond to this important mission,” Valencia said.
A nonprofit organization, the Risen Savior Missions helps address the problems of poverty and the basic needs of the poor by implementing a feeding program designed to reverse malnutrition and feed the mind and soul of the children.
To date, it has expanded to more than 1,000 different feeding sites in the Philippines, Zimbabwe and Haiti.
According to studies, one out of three Filipino children below 5 years old is malnourished.
The Food and Nutrition Research Institute disclosed that 26 percent of children up to 2 years old suffer from chronic malnutrition, the highest number in 10 years.
The Siargao feeding program partnership between the Risen Savior Missions and Matugas came even before President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain Para sa Batang Pilipino Act.
Signed on June 20, the law calls for the establishment of a national feeding program for undernourished children in public daycare centers, kindergarten, and elementary school.
It states that the program must prioritize LGUs, public daycare centers, and elementary schools that have the highest prevalence of undernutrition and nutrient-deficiency among children aged 3 up to those in Grade 6.
Under the said law, LGUs, which can come up with the counterpart resources, will also be given priority.