Isko Moreno wants to institutionalize Nutribun program in Manila

Janella Paris

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Isko Moreno wants to institutionalize Nutribun program in Manila
Manila's new chief also says the city govenment is preparing the design for the new Ospital ng Maynila, which he dreams to be eventually at par with big private hospitals like Makati Medical Center


MANILA, Philippines – Mayor Isko Moreno said he wants to institutionalize the Marcos-era Nutribun program in Manila to address child nutrition and hunger in the Philippine capital.

“We are doing necessary legislative requirements with regard to funding and institutionalizing the [Nutribun] program [to solve] nutrition and hunger,” Moreno said on Tuesday, July 16.

Pinakamahalaga sa akin wala nang papasok na bata [na gutom], simply because the attention span ng isang batang gutom ay maikli kasi hindi siya nakikinig sa teacher, nakikinig doon sa kalam ng sikmura niya,” Moreno said. 

(It is very important to me that no child goes to school hungry. Hungry children tend to have short attention span because instead of listening to their teachers, they listen to their stomachs grumble). 

The US-funded Nutribun program was implemented nationwide in the early 1970s as a supplementary feeding program for public elementary schoolchildren. Nutribun was made in local bakeries and distributed among targeted schools and feeding centers.

It ended in 1997 after the US assessed that the Philippines was in need of less food aid than, say, countries in Africa.

Moreno’s predecessor, Joseph Estrada, revived the program in 2014, covering around 7,000 severely wasted students among over 70 public elementary schools surveyed. (READ: Nutribun: Remember me?)

Other plans

Moreno also said that the city government was preparing the design for a new Ospital ng Maynila – one of his campaign promises. His aspirational peg for the public hospital, he said, was the Makati Medical Center. 

The new hospital will be built adjacent to the current building, which will then become the new College of Medicine of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, he explained.

“It will be fully airconditioned hospital, and our dream, our goal, is to build – anyway it’s just a dream – is to make Makati Medical Center as the peg for our public hospital, that’s our maximum goal in terms of facilities and support,” Moreno said.  

The Manila mayor also said that he wanted some 60 public health centers redesigned, and assured that the city government would purchase at least 6 new ambulances. He advised public hospital personnel to be on their toes as he planned to make the rounds of Manila’s hospitals in the wee hours of the morning.  

Moreno joined Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on an overcast Tuesday morning as the health chief, along with health officials, administered shots of measles and diphtheria vaccines to some 100 grade 7 students of Ramon Magsaysay High School in Manila.  

The health department’s school-based immunization program aims to provide free shots of the measles and rubella vaccines for public school students from kindergarten to Grade 7, and booster doses of tetanus-diphtheria for public school students from Grade 1 to 7. It targets to vaccinate some 9 million public school students nationwide by September 2019. (READ: EXPLAINER: When should one get vaccinated against measles?)

Moreno’s first week in office was filled with surprise inspections all over the capital, visits to some landmark sites, the destruction of gambling machines and illegally-built barracks, and  clearing operations in main thoroughfares like Recto, Divisoria, Soler, and Carriedo. 

On Monday, July 15, he presented some of Manila’s most wanted suspects to media, despite the Philippine National Police ban on the practice to avoid trial by publicity.

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