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Archive for April, 2013

CURBING MALNUTRITION THE PAGCOR WAY

by on Apr.02, 2013, under PAGCOR CSR

As children ran towards the faucet near the covered court of the Marcela Marcelo Elementary School in Pasay City, a little girl was left behind. Not because she did not want to wash her hands but because she has no hands to begin with.

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Grade 1 pupil Stephanie Talanay, who was born with no arms, is one of thousands of undernourished public school children who received free nutritious meals from PAGCOR’s Feeding Program. Like many students in government-subsidized schools, she could not get enough nutrition due to poverty.

But through the state-owned gaming firm’s regular Feeding Program, Stephanie and close to 10,000 undernourished school children from 186 public schools nationwide were able to win the battle against malnutrition.

During their final weigh-in last March, students like Stephanie – who were under 15 kilograms – reached 18 kilograms, the ideal weight for seven-year-old children.

PAGCOR allocates P40 million annually to address the needs of undernourished public school students. Each student from schools in Metro Manila And the provinces receive a daily meal allocation of P40 and P30 per meal per day, respectively. For the coming school year, PAGCOR increased the allocation to P45 million in order to have more beneficiaries.

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The Feeding Program was carried out by PAGCOR in response to the pressing need to improve the health and nutrition of school children from the poorest public schools.

Based on a report released last August 2012 by the Department of Education (DepEd), a total of 562,262 pupils in kindergarten and elementary levels enrolled in public schools have been classified as “severely wasted” or undernourished. However, the DepEd’s Health and Nutrition Center (HNC) reported that it could only feed 42,372 or 7.54 percent of the identified severely malnourished pupils in 1,010 public elementary schools form 28 provinces.

Jaylord Lozano, a ten-year-old student of Damñas Elementary School in Digos CIty, Davao del Sur began attending the PAGCOR feeding program in their school in October 2012. After a few months, Lozano gained four kilograms and now weighs 26 kilograms. The ideal weight for 10-year-old kids is 24.5 to 47 kilograms, depending on their height.

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Jaylord shared that he is now more energetic, and his grades were higher. “Salamat sa pagtulong sa kabataan. Binigyan kami ng libreng pagkain araw-araw. Ngayon pa lang kami nakakain ng ganito, na masarap,” Lozano said. The daily menu for students consists of vegetables, meat or fish, rice and fruits.

Meantime, Marilou Sales, principal of the Gabaldon Elementary School in Laoag, Ilocos Norte which is also a beneficiary of the PAGCOR feeding program, underscored the importance of proper nutrition among school children. “Kapag ang bata ay hindi kumakain nang sapat, walang nutrisyon, apektado ang kanilang pag-aaral. Mababa ang kanilang grades, hindi nakakabasa nang maayos at kadalasan sila yung hindi nakakapasok sa school,” she added.

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According to her, most undernourished children come from the poorest families whose parents do not earn enough to provide the basic needs for their children. Sales noted their dropouts are children whose parents decide to stop sending them to school due to severe poverty.

Sales said their school achieved zero dropout rate when PAGCOR selected their students as beneficiaries of the feeding program. “Malaki ang pasasalamat namin sa biyayang ito dahil ang supplementary feeding program ninyo dito sa school namin ay nakakatulong nang malaki. Yung mga bata nakikita ko na sila ay naeengganyong kumain at mag-aral. Sa ngayon, wala na kaming mga dropouts dahil sa tulong ng PAGCOR,” she said.

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