No ‘go, grow, glow’ food for 2M Metro kids | Inquirer News
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No ‘go, grow, glow’ food for 2M Metro kids

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 11:26 PM August 31, 2011

Some two million children in Metro Manila can’t be bothered about putting “go, grow and glow” food in their diet since their foremost concern is how to find breakfast, lunch or dinner, Interior Secretary Jesse M. Robredo said.

According to Robredo, these children (out of about 12 million people in the metropolis) are “systematically deprived of their rights” to healthy food, among other basic needs, based on figures from the Ateneo-based Institute of Philippine Culture.

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“We see many of them on the streets every day. They lack access to health services, good toilets, quality education and a chance to live a normal childhood,” Robredo said during the Second Forum on Children in the Urban Environment held recently at Ateneo de Manila University.

“It’s pointless to discuss with [these children] whether they have ‘go, grow and glow’ [food] in their diet. Proper nutrition is not pertinent in their daily conversations but hunger is because their one big question is how to eat three times a day,” he added.

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“Go, grow and glow” refers to the three food groups. The first is rich in carbohydrates that provide energy so that kids can “go” about their activities. The second is full of protein that enables young bodies to “grow” and build muscle. The third is filled with vitamins that give a healthy “glow” to the skin.

In his speech, Robredo discussed the role of local governments in creating “child-friendly” cities as he noted the importance of making cities and towns safe for the young.

“Let me paraphrase a writer who said that children could lead us into more perfect cities if we but listen to them. You see, a child-friendly city works best for everyone,” Robredo said.

“Ask an illiterate mother in Maguindanao who wants the best education for her child. Ask a small businessman in Dumaguete who is hoping there are more skilled workers he can hire. Ask a laborer in Pasay who yearns for more child-friendly walkways around the city and more greenery in simple playgrounds in Metro Manila where he could also catch his breath,” Robredo added.

“We only have to listen well. Because in reality, we have not listened to the children. In reality, we have not given them a voice,” Robredo said.

Regretfully, “things are not looking good for children in the urban setting,” Robredo noted.

In Metro Manila alone, one of four residents live in informal settlements, Robredo said. “Think about that figure for a moment. When you go to the mall, that’s one in four of the people you see.”

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“The MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) says more than half a million families live in informal settlements. If you use ADB [Asian Development Bank] data, that number goes up to almost three-fourths of a million,” he said.

Around 41 percent of that figure lives in informal settlements on government lands, 34 percent on private lands and 21 percent in dangerous areas, Robredo added, citing the same sources.

He said local governments could do many things to change these deplorable conditions, especially when it comes to children who live with constant threats of demolition and distant relocation.

“The DILG recognizes the need for LGUs to providing shelter that is not only affordable but also creates communities where the young can flourish and not be scared of constant demolition,” Robredo said.

Robredo said there must be a holistic approach to resettlement “that will not pluck families away from their sources of income.”

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TAGS: Children, diet, Metro Manila, Poverty
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