Davao City  – Tagum City is among the top three performing local government units of the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).  The other two being Tarragona, Davao Oriental and the Municipality of Nabunturan in Compostela Valley Province.

This was bared by Director Priscilla N. Razon of DSWD who pointed out that strong collaboration among the city government officials, barangay leaders, parents, day care teachers, Barangay Nutrition Scholars, and Barangay Health Workers is very crucial in the city’s implementation of the feeding program, one of the component services under the Day Care Service Program.

Tagum has been running the program in four cycles now, covering 5,228 children in 91 day care centers, Director Razon said.

Director Razon also noted that organization of SFP Technical Working Group, regular monitoring, supervision during the actual feeding, parent participation, and provision of health services like deworming, dental examination, and Vitamin A supplementation, are among the factors that contributed in the success of the feeding program.

Compliance to City Ordinance No. 647, series of 2013 also known as The Day Care Teachers Code of Tagum City [which provides for timely submission of reports and conduct of daily feeding], has also helped in running the program.

DSWD records show other pertinent factors that the city has guaranteed in support to the feeding program include: 1] functional kitchen, cooking and dining area in 90% of day care centers; 2] attendance of all parents in the Enhanced Parent Effectiveness Seminar; 3] vegetable gardens in all day care centers dubbed “Gulayan sa Paaralan at Day Care Centers” which gained a national award; 4] posting of Monthly Nutritional  Status Report in all day care centers, and 5] summer recruitment and enrollment in every barangay that facilitated timely start of every feeding cycle.

Sally C. Balili, City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) Division Chief and SFP Focal Person likewise made sure that she conducts quarterly monitoring supervision along with the city’s Monitoring Team and the City Accountant Office in all the 91 day care centers. “We are very happy to report the high participation rate among parents and children-beneficiaries in our day care service centers. Absences and drop-outs have been minimized among our enrollees too. Most importantly, we recorded an increase in nutritional status among the underweight and severely underweight children.”

“We see to it that parents are aware of their roles and responsibilities in the day care centers as well as towards their children. The daily encounter and cooking session of parents in the center also provided more opportunity for bonding and camaraderie among the day care teacher, children and parents, Balili said.”

In a recent report submitted to DSWD, Balili indicated that consumption of junk food was also lessened as children were instead served with a nutritious hot meal.Every day, the day care children look forward to a hot, nutritious and delicious meal prepared by their parents in the day care centers.”

Nora H. Lupiba, CSWDO Department Head, lauded the involvement of non-government organizations in the feeding program. “They augment the insufficient resources we have in our respective day care centers like upgrading of kitchen and dining area, repair and maintenance of day care centers, and provision of additional cooking materials.”

“Parents happily shared that the feeding program really augmented their financial and food consumption needs at home. Apart from stretching their food budget, the foods served are low cost and nutritious. They also learned new vegetable recipes which they now serve to their families, resulting to healthier family members and lesser medical expenses especially among their children.  We hope that DSWD will sustain funding of the SFP and to continue its monitoring to determine the strong points as well as the gaps in program implementation for appropriate interventions. Kaya namin ang pagbabago dahil patuloy ang suporta at monitoring na ginagawa ng DSWD,” Lupiba conveyed.

Hot meals

The Supplementary Feeding Program is administered nationwide to address the increasing prevalence of under- and over-nutrition among Filipino children.

It is an augmentation support in the feeding program of local government units using indigenous foods and/or locally processed foods equivalent to 1/3 of Recommended Energy and Nutrient Intakes (RENIs).

The program also aims to improve knowledge, attitude and practices of children, parents and caregivers through intensified nutrition and health education.

Feeding in a form of daily hot meals is provided within 120 days. The feeding program is managed by parents who have been organized into Day Care Service Parents Group (DCSPG) with different working committees.

The parent committee on Food Preparation provides voluntary labor for the cooking/preparation of food and management of feeding sessions.

Parents are also required to attend all the nine sessions of Enhanced Parent Effectiveness Seminar with topics on self, family and parenting, health nutrition, love of country, and home and environment.

Aside from feeding, children are taught proper hygiene such as washing hands before and after eating, table manners, prayer before and after meals, simple concepts on health care and nutrition, among others. DSWD