DUMAGUETE CITY: The malnutrition rate in Negros Oriental went down from 8.8 percent to 6.4 percent last year and continued to slide down to 6.1 percent this year.
Governor Roel Degamo announced this on Thursday before awardees of the enhanced version of the Gulayan at Palaisdaan Alay sa Kabataan (GPAK) during simple awarding ceremonies with the Department of Education (DepEd).
Degamo emphasized the vital role of DepEd and the provincial agriculture office in implementing the program dubbed as Reinforcing the Right Development of Children in Schools and Communities (RRDCSC) where all children in communities are included.
He said RRDCSC must be implemented in schools and help the nutritional needs of other children.
Degamo said RRDCSC is aimed at instilling in the students the value of work and love for the soil through the utilization of idle and unproductive lots in all public schools in Negros Oriental.
Its ultimate goal is to maximize the productivity of school gardens and other water resources to complement the administration’s thrust for food production towards sustainable agriculture, provide additional income and food supply for the school feeding program, serve as a vehicle for relevant education for students and their family and to further enhance the socio-cultural well-being of the people and the community as well.
According to Lilani Cabrera, assistant Deped Division superintendent, the program complements the dietary requirements of children in line with the school feeding program because vegetables that are organically grown in the school gardens are consumed rather than buying them from the markets.
Cabrera said cooperation of parents is crucial because children have limited time in the school gardening program to water the plants and they are also needed in their homes during weekends.
Provincial agriculturist Nestor Villaflores said the provincial government has allocated P2.8 million for the program this year as part of their mandate to stabilize food production in the province.
Part of the amount is used to provide tools to the schools including inputs, incentives to personnel, among others.
Almost 250 schools in the province have participated in the search for the best implementor of RRD CSC, 64 in the “gulayan” category and 25 in the “palaisdaan” category.
Champion in the gulayan category in the first district was the P. Zamora Elementary School in Guihulngan City headed by the principal Apolonio Bulandres; Balayong Elementary School in Pamplona in the 2nd district headed by the principal Isabelita Culi; and Minaba Elementary School in Bayawan City with Emily Llandres as the principal.
They received P100,000 each in terms of projects from the provincial government and certificates of outstanding performance.
Champion in the palaisdaan category was the Jantianon Elementary School in Amlan headed by the principal Danilo Montecino who brought home P55,000 worth of projects and a certificate of outstanding performance.
The search for outstanding implementers of RRD CSC was participated in by six divisions of DepEd in the province.