Protect the children

Published April 29, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin



Francis N. Tolentino
Francis N. Tolentino

Every disaster or calamity creates enduring imprints on the lives of children.  A family’s loss of property or livelihood, or more so the life of a loved one during calamities, impact the lives of its young members in ways that oftentimes affect them even several years after surviving these unfortunate events. Children experience trauma from disruption in education, from family loss of life or income, and child labor due to financial difficulties of the family, among several other threats to their physical and psychosocial well-being.

This current COVID-19 pandemic has shut down nearly the whole world.  Even the richest of nations, or even those with extensive scientific research and development capabilities have yet to find a cure. The most that people can do to protect themselves is to adhere to the highest standards of hygiene and to strengthen the immune system through proper nutrition, especially for those who belong to highly vulnerable groups such as the elderly and children.

It is for this reason that again for the nth time I appeal to the Department of Education and the Department of Social Welfare and Development to continue with their Supplemental Feeding Programs under Republic Act 11037, the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act.  I urge the implementation of the aforementioned program as this will not only help the nutritional food intake of day care pupils and public elementary school students but will also lessen the daily food expenses of needy Filipino families during this pandemic period. The closure of schools should not be a reason to discontinue the feeding program as this too was the intention of the Bayanihan Law.

According to the UNICEF Philippines website, 95 Filipino children die from malnutrition every day.  Hence, as malnutrition increases, so does the children’s vulnerability to life-threatening diseases and consequently, death.  When their young bodies are not fortified with essential nutrients that build and boost their immune system, their health becomes fragile and their resistance to illness is greatly reduced.

The vulnerability of Filipino children, especially amidst this critical period, cannot be undermined.  While the world waits for health scientists to develop a vaccine that we hope will avert the deadly coronavirus, the only option laid on the table is to strengthen the implementation of policies that will continue to safeguard and promote the health of children, the elderly, and the rest of the Filipino nation. Let us all remain calm, attuned, united, and hopeful.