Cebu officials aim to pilot revival of Marcos-era Nutribun
CEBU, Philippines – In a resolution, the province of Cebu expressed interest in piloting the revival of Nutribuns, a bread that resembled pan de sal but with higher nutritional value. The original Nutribun program was implemented in the early 1970s during the Marcos era as a supplementary feeding program for public elementary school children.
"The province of Cebu is among the richest provinces in the country, but has the highest rate of malnourished and stunted children," says the resolution, which was authored by 7th District Board Member Christopher "Dong" Baricuatro.
A Provincial School Board meeting determined that an initial total of 6,439 kindergarten and grade school children in Cebu were in the "severely wasted" category, while 23,599 were in the "wasted" category. "Severely wasted" children are those who are very thin for their height, while "wasted" children are those who may not be as worse off, but will be if not taken care of.
The Nutribun revival is a project spearheaded by Senator Imee Marcos, whose father, former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was in power during the original program. Without elaborating, Marcos claimed that nutribuns would boost brain development" of school children, as well as support Cebu farmers as the bun's ingredients – which include monggo, malunggay, kalabasa, kamote, and coconut – are expected to be produced locally.
The original Nutribun project ended in 1997.
“It was phased out because the US assessed the Philippines to be in less need for food aid compared to other countries like those in Africa,” said Didi Vega, chief of the Nutrition Policy and Planning Division of the National Nutrition Council (NNC). – Rappler.com