By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte hailed yesterday President Duterte’s signing of the “Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act,” citing its “extensive” impact on the economy.
He said Republic Act No. 11148, which aims to ensure that a child gets the right nutrition in the first 1,000 days of development, will help sustain the country’s strong economic future as it will reduce healthcare costs.
“This law, on the surface, appears to be a social protection program meant to shield poor mothers and children from malnutrition, but its impact on the economy and our future as a country is extensive,” Villafuerte, who is among the principal authors of the “First 1,000 Days” bill in the Lower Chamber, said.
“If the law is fully and effectively implemented, we can be assured of future generations of Filipinos who can ably compete in the global economy because they are healthier and smarter. This would translate into lower healthcare costs and more funds for
the government to spend on other priority concerns such as infrastructure modernization,” he said.
He expects that once the law is fully implemented, it will help President Duterte’s vision of growing the Filipino middle class and transforming the Philippines into a high-income economy in one generation or by 2040.
“The “First 1,000 Days Law” will reverse the alarming malnutrition rate responsible for countless deaths or stunted growths of Filipino babies and ensure their healthy brain development while inside their mothers’ wombs,” Villafuerte said.
RA 11148, which was signed into law on Nov. 29 last year, seeks to provide comprehensive, sustainable multisectoral strategies and approaches to address health and nutrition problems of newborns, infants and young children, pregnant and lactating women and adolescent females. It also seeks to address multifactoral issues that negatively affect the development of newborns, infants and young children, integrating the short-, medium- and long-term plans of the government to end hunger, improve health and nutrition, and reduce malnutrition.
“With this law, we can significantly reduce cases of malnutrition and, in the long run, end the cycle of malnourished women giving birth to malnourished daughters, who, in turn, grow up to become malnourished mothers themselves,” Villafuerte said.
RA 11148 mandates the Departments of Health (DOH) and of Agriculture (DA) along with the National Nutrition Council (NNC), in coordination with other state agencies and local government units, to formulate national nutrition policies, plans, strategies and approaches for the nutrition improvement, including, strategies on women, infant and young child, and adolescent nutrition.
The first 1,000 days refers to the 270 days of a child inside the mother’s womb up to the time of his or her second birthday.