The DOST-FNRI survey showed a prevalence of stunting among children below the age of five and that the Philippines will have to make policy interventions in order to reach the 2030 targets set by the Sustainable Development Goals to end hunger.
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TUCP cites DOST-FNRI findings on malnutrition
(The Philippine Star) - June 30, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Trade Union Congress Party (TUCP Partylist) yesterday cited the findings of the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) Expanded National Nutrition Survey on malnutrition and child stunting as further proof of the administrative arrogance and gross incompetence of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in dismissing the TUCP wage petitions. 

The DOST-FNRI survey showed a prevalence of stunting among children below the age of five and that the Philippines will have to make policy interventions in order to reach the 2030 targets set by the Sustainable Development Goals to end hunger. 

“No less than the DOST-FNRI established that malnutrition is endemic. It is clear that hunger ravages our workers and their families,” said TUCP Rep. Raymond Mendoza.

The findings of the study are that the losses from children suffering from undernutrition are costing the Philippines P220 billion a year and causing over 29,000 deaths annually of Filipino children less than five years old. It added that the needed interventions will cost an estimated P4.8 billion yearly, but for every P49 invested to address undernutrition, there is a return of P587.

DOST-FNRI said the results of this survey are to be “used to address nutrition problems by crafting policies and interventions.”

According to Mendoza, “There is clearly a problem, and there is clearly a need for intervention. The refusal of the RTWPBs to acknowledge the effects of malnutrition is outrageous. If they do not fulfill their purpose then what need is there for this agency to exist?”

“Also, the 2019 Mercer Cost of Living study ranked Manila among the most expensive cities in terms of cost of living. It ranked 109 out of 400 locations, and this is alarming when you consider how this will affect the competitiveness of the Philippines in attracting businesses and investments,” he said. Manila tied with Adelaide, Australia in 109th place, according to the Mercer study.

“Our petition is centered on the need of Filipino workers and their families to be fed nutritious meals as prescribed by our very own government. They are already subsisting on survival meals without even taking into consideration the rising prices for other necessities, such as electricity and petroleum,” he said. 

The petition of the TUCP for a daily increase of P710 in NCR is based on the “Pinggang Pinoy” model and the food bundle prescribed by the DOST-FNRI, which gives the breakdown of what meals Filipinos should be consuming in order to fulfill their nutrition requirements.

“Another government agency has already flagged the problem of malnutrition and yet the RTWPB persists in turning a blind eye. Nagbubulagbulagan sila (They are turning a blind eye) at the expense of our workers. Hunger is the supervening condition,” Mendoza said.

The Philippines has enjoyed steady GDP growth rate, even with the recent slow down in the first quarter of 2019. “What other justification do the RTWPBs need to grant a wage increase to those who lift up our economy? Are they condoning the exploitation of Filipino workers so that corporations can continue to generate excessive profits?” he asked.

The Social Weather Stations (SWS) self-rated poverty survey showed a record-low 38 percent of families considering themselves poor. “Many people count themselves as less poor than before. But that does not mean they can afford nutritious food. Maybe all it shows is that they can just afford flavored instant noodles and 3-in-1 coffee to continue to survive,” Mendoza said. 

“We warn that this continued inaction will result in a decline in labor productivity, a less competitive economy and escalating social costs as our workers get sick, and our children – the future work force – become smaller in size and weight and have a diminished learning capacity. We are talking about the future of this country and the consequences of keeping wages low to appease businesses will spare no one,” he added.

HUNGER MALNUTRITION TRADE UNION CONGRESS PARTY
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