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Poe: First 1,000 days crucial for child’s development

Mara Cepeda

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Poe: First 1,000 days crucial for child’s development
The senator has 2 pending bills aiming to end child malnutrition nationwide

MANILA, Philippines – With the start of this year’s Nutrition Month, Senator Grace Poe emphasized the urgent need to protect and provide support to children in their first 1,000 days.

“This is the most critical period in the life of a Filipino child, during which he or she must be properly nourished and cared for,” said Poe in a press statement on Friday, July 3.

Walang lugar ang pagpapabaya lalo’t higit sa panahong ito ng kanilang labis na pangangailangan tungo sa tamang paglaki at paghubog ng kanilang buong kakayanan,” she added. (There is no place for negligence, especially during this period that is critical for their proper growth and development.)

According to the World Health Organization, the first 1,000 days from the conception of a child are crucial, as they determine the direction of his or her health and well-being.

Health experts said a child will need adequate nutritional support to fight disease, build power, and establish important functions such as seeing and hearing in his or her first 1,000 days. (READ: Smart starts: Your child’s first 1,000 days)

The World Food Programme added that malnutrition’s effects on a child’s brain are irreversible during this time.

Hunger bills

Early this year, Poe filed Senate Bill (SB) No 2755 or the First 1,000 Days Act to help curb the number of child malnutrition cases in the country. 

It seeks to provide Filipino children with full protection and support necessary for their healthy development. (READ: Poe: Hunger and malnutrition hinder Filipino youth’s potential)

This bill also aims to establish a first 1,000 days program in every barangay, which will include nutrition counselling, milk feeding, treatment of malnourished children, general family counselling, and intervention measures through safe and high-quality complementary food.

Aside from this, Poe also filed SB No 79 or the Sustansiya sa Batang Pilipino Act of 2013, which will push for the institutionalization of a free nutri-meals program to children enrolled in all kindergarten, elementary, and high schools. (READ: Poe: Children suffer from hunger, poverty scars)

“We need a strong, whole-of-society support and institutionalized, effective mechanisms to protect and bring up our children accordingly,” said Poe. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.