Alarmed over instances of Filipino “child zombies” or those with stunted brain growth and are underweight, Senator Imee Marcos filed a proposed measure to review government child-feeding programs.
Marcos noted the Philippines remained one of nine countries with the highest number of children with stunted growth.
She said the public had not heard about the status, much less the success, of government programs aimed at reducing malnutrition.
Citing child nutrition research statistics, Marcos said about 30 percent of a Filipino child’s brain would not grow further if malnutrition continued from the time a mother was pregnant until the child reached the age of five.
To boost her Senate resolution, Marcos called for the distribution of “Nutribiskwit”—a nutrient-fortified, mold-free, and better-stored version of the iconic Nutribun given to grade-school children in the 70s.
Nutrition statistics show that more than one-third of Filipino children suffer stunted growth, with 95 Filipino children dying each day from malnutrition, and 27 out of 1,000 unable to get past their fifth birthday.
Senior research specialist Salvador Serrano of the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute said that many Filipino children faced a bleak future due to stunting.
Among the government programs the Marcos resolution seeks to review is the Department of Health’s so-called action plan started in 2017 for “nutrition intervention”, the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s 120-day program to gauge the nutritional status of child beneficiaries, and the Early Childhood Care and Development Council that is supposed to provide protection for children aged 0-4 years.