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Brgy Nutrition Scholars face tough challenges ahead

| by: Xerxes Alkuino

The Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) were challenged once again to help curb the number of malnourished children in the country.

Governor Hilario P. Davide III recognized the daunting task of the BNS throughout the country.In its 2012 report, the United Nations claimed that six (6) million Filipino children are malnourished.

Nevertheless, Governor Davide did not mince words to praise the BNS for their work saying they are “unsung heroes” in fighting modern threats.The neophyte governor said, “I am amazed and grateful for the volunteerism and dedication the over 1,200 nutrition workers in Cebu have shown. You are the unsung heroes in the barangays.”

He also received a louder applause from BNS when he said that the Province of Cebu provides annual cash incentives to the barangay workers.

The governor gave the welcome remarks during the biennial conference hosted by the National Nutrition Council (NNC) of the Department of Health (DOH) and its partner LuzViMin BNS Federation, Inc. for the Visayas Cluster last April 22 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel, Cebu City.

The biennial 3rd National Conference of BNS has four (4) sub-conferences all scheduled this month.  The first conference was done in Manila last April 7-8 for the National Capital Region and Southern Luzon Regions.

For regions 1, 2, and 3 and Cordillera Administrative Region, the event was held in Vigan on April 15-16. The Mindanao cluster will be hosted by General Santos City on April 28-29.

One of the highlights of the conference is the unveiling of the BNS handbook which serves as a guide for the nutrition scholars.Las Piñas Congressman Mark Villar said the guidebook will make them better equipped in their performance.

The congressman spoke in behalf of his mother Senator Cynthia Villar, who was not able to attend the conference. He assured the BNS that he will push in Congress a legislative measure to increase their allowances.

The BNS was created by Presidential Decree 1569. Promulgated in 1978, the law was already overtaken by time especially with regards to the benefits of the BNS.PD 1569 only provides Php 120 allowance from the national coffers while another maximum amount of Php 150 incentive from the local government units. This law has never been amended or repealed.

In Cebu Province, on top of the allowances they receive from their respective towns or cities, the Capitol gave each of them Php 2,400 annual cash incentive.

Congressman Villar said the statistics seemed insurmountable for the country to meet its Millennium Development Goal of eradicating poverty and extreme hunger by 2015. But he said they should not be discouraged.