United Nationalists Alliance (UNA) party senatorial candidate Jejomar Binay on Friday said the government must allocate more funds needed to bring down child malnutrition levels in the country.
“We should provide the needed funds for all government programs aimed at addressing child malnutrition, and at the same time encourage partnerships with the business sector and civil society,” he said.
The former vice president said the priorities should include an expanded immunization program, human milk bank, feeding program, and other similar initiatives.
Binay cited a 2021 World Bank report that said there has been almost no improvement in the prevalence of malnutrition in the country for nearly 30 years.
The report added that 29 percent, or one in three children younger than five years old, suffer from stunting as a result of malnutrition.
Binay said malnutrition programs should focus on regions identified in the World Bank report where stunting exceeded 40 per cent of the population.
These are the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) with 45 percent, Mimaropa with 41 percent, and Bicol, Western Visayas, and Soccksargen, with 40 percent.
Binay said that promoting nutritional adequacy, especially to high-risk groups like children, has long been his priority.
“We have pioneered programs in Makati to decrease the number of children suffering from hunger and malnutrition. As a result, Makati has one of the lowest malnutrition rates in the country,” said Binay, who served as city chief executive of Makati from 1986 to 1998, and from 2001 to 2010 before serving the country as vice president.
Makati’s malnutrition rate is at 0.54 per cent. “Investing in the future of our youth involves taking care of their education and their health,” Binay said.