The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Nutrition Council (NNC) conducted a dialogue with the local chief executives (LCEs) on Wednesday, August 4, in a bid to enhance the link between the national government and its local counterpart in attaining a sustainable nutritional programs in the country.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said that with the increase of shares that the Local Government Units (LGUs) will receive from national taxes starting fiscal year 2022, the localities will have more access to funding basic services, including programs for health and nutrition.
“With the onset of full devolution, pursuant to EO (Executive Order) 138 and the Mandanas-Garcia ruling of the Supreme Court, LGUs can go beyond service delivery and assume the great responsibility of securing the nutrition of the people,” Año said.
The DILG noted that the recent development is in recognition of the crucial role of the LGUs in attaining the overall goal to end malnutrition as the implications on nutrition of Executive Order No. 138 on full devolution starting next year was tackled.
In a statement, the DILG noted that EO 138, which was issued by President Duterte on June 1, 2021, encourages LGUs to primarily and ultimately be responsible in the implementation and delivery of devolved functions as mandated by the Mandanas-Garcia Ruling pursuant to Section 17 of the Local Government Code (LGC) and other laws which subsequently assigned new functions to LGUs.
“The nutritional welfare of our people, whether infants, children, adolescents, or adults will only be improved once our LGUs develop their capacity to bring together various stakeholders and come up with collectively agreeable solutions,” he added.
The DILG chief also encouraged the LGUs to update their respective nutrition action plans and integrate them into their Local Development Plans and Annual Investment Programs to secure adequate funding.
He also urged the LGUs to implement their respective Local Nutrition Action programs and packages and to organize or strengthen their respective Local Nutrition Action Offices.
During the webinar’s panel discussion, selected LGU representatives from the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) also shared their best practices on nutrition among their fellow governors and mayors.
Año expressed optimism that the LCEs and local functionaries were able to increase their awareness of the current state of malnutrition and learned how it can be addressed in their respective areas of responsibility through the sharing of the best practices of LCEs from Quirino, Tagaytay City, Zamboanga Sibugay and Limasawa.
NNC Assistant Secretary and Executive Director Azucena M. Dayanghirang stressed that the cost of malnutrition is very high.
“If we continue to implement the same programs and at the same level of investments for malnutrition, we will lose this battle,” Dayanghirang said.
“But we are hopeful that the commitments made by the Leagues in this event will create more #NutritionChampions that will implement and sustain our advocacy which will eventually translate into increased investments and resources, and scaled up nutrition services,” she added.
The webinar entitled “Dialogue with Local Chief Executives: Enabling Nutrition Devolution” on Friday was a sequel to the previously held Roundtable Experience on Nutrition: Ending the Malnutrition War held at the Manila Hotel in May 2018. (Chito A. Chavez)