By Erwin Beleo
AGOO, La Union -The government should immediately fund the implementation of the newly signed Republic Act No. 11148 or the ‘First 1,000 Days of Life’ law to reduce malnutrition in the country and make Filipino children healthier, according to La Union 2nd District Rep. Sandra Y. Eriguel.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA 11148 into law on November 29, 2018.
“I am hopeful that the amount needed to carry out the mandate of this new measure would be included in the proposed 2019 budget of the implementing agencies, including the Department of Health, considering that the 2019 General Appropriations Bill will still go through the bicameral conference committee before its ratification by both Houses of Congress,” Eriguel said.
Eriguel served as the chairperson of the Technical Working Group (TWG) that deliberated on the 16 House bills, including her own version.
The TWG recommended these bills for consolidation and approval as House Bill No. 5777.
“This law will improve the nutritional status of Filipino children and prepare them to become productive citizens,” said Eriguel, a medical doctor who is a vice-chairperson of the House Committee on Health.
She is one of the principal authors of the consolidated House Bill No. 5777 which was approved by the House of Representatives on September 25, 2017.
The law, which is also known as ‘Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act’ is aimed at scaling up the national and local health nutrition programs through a strengthened integrated strategy for maternal, neonatal, child health and nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life.
It is estimated that the inoculation of 2.7 million pregnant women against tetanus and diphtheria, one of the programs under the law, would require P17 billion.
Aside from vaccination, the law also supports deworming, Vitamin A supplementation, as well as iron and food supplements for infants and women.
Eriguel emphasized that the law was passed to highlight the importance of nutrition intervention programs in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life.