Need for separate nutrition body under President's office questioned | Inquirer News

Need for separate nutrition body under President’s office questioned

/ 04:53 PM May 18, 2023

In photo. Two children enjoying a meal. Some lawmakers have raised the question of whether or not it is necessary to create a separate agency in charge of malnutrition under the Office of the President (OP). This was after it's been pointed out that the Department of Health is already assigned issues on malnutrition and there might be a redundancy or overlap in function between the DOH and the proposed agency.

MANILA, Philippines — Several lawmakers have questioned whether or not there is really a need to create a separate agency in charge of malnutrition, which would be placed under the Office of the President (OP).

During the hearing of the House committee on health, Kabayan party-list Representative Ron Salo asked the proponents of the bills being discussed what is the purpose of assigning a National Nutrition Council or a National Nutrition Commission under Malacanang.


Salo warned with the Department of Health (DOH) already assigned to malnutrition issues, there might be a redundancy in the mandate of the offices.


“I’m just wondering what exactly is the main purpose of changing it from a council to a commission, because I understand Mr. Chair, a national nutrition council is basically a policy-making body and, of course, I’ve been reading the proposal. That exactly is essentially the main focus as well — but not exactly as a program implementer,” Salo said.

“So I’m just wondering now Mr. Chair, hindi kaya magkakaroon ng redundancy ito? ‘Yong programa na i-implement dapat ng [DOH] — because nutrition is basically a health component, a part of the functions of the DOH, inseparable supposedly ‘to Mr. Chair,” he added.

(So I’m just wondering now Mr. Chair, would that not result in a redundancy, this program that should be implemented by DOH — because nutrition is basically a health component, a part of the functions of the DOH, this is supposedly inseparable Mr. Chair.)

Committee chair and Batanes Rep. Ciriaco Gato Jr. tried to ask the proponents to explain their bill, but none of them were present.

This prompted the lawmaker to ask DOH Assistant Secretary Azucena Dayanghirang instead.

Dayanghirang is also Executive Director of the already-existing National Nutrition Council (NNC)


“Well, as an attached agency of the Department of Health, we are limited to the main mandate and direction of the mother agency, and the reason why we are proposing for the said bills to be approved, we really wanted — when we are under the Office of the President, we can have more programs instituted,” she said.

“And luckily enough, we do have programs right now because of Republic Act No. 11148 or otherwise known as Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act.  Imagine, the first 1,000 days population — meaning from the first day of pregnancy up to the two years ng bata, orphan population po ito,” she added.

“Walang departamentong nag-a-assist o nagpo-provide ng (no department assists or provides) food and nutrition-related programs and projects in the first 1,000 days,” she added.

Baguio City Rep. Mark Go suggested that a technical working group be created to deliberate the possible changes to the proposed bills, in consideration of the discussions in the hearing.


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