NAPC pushes for malunggay tree planting by public elementary schools
by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob
Cagayan de Oro City (12 September) -- The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) may yet launch an intensified campaign to advocate the planting of "malunggay" trees by public elementary schools.
"A cup of malunggay leaves is equivalent to 3 cups of milk or 4 pieces of bananas. It has vitamin A. It has beta carotene and is a good source of potassium for the school children," Secretary Domingo Panganiban of NAPC said.
In a recent interview at the Mindascope: Ugnayang Mindanao Program anchored by Ditas Gualberto, Station Manager of Radyo Ng Bayan-DXIM in the city, Panganiban said this is what NAPC is trying to advocate because milk, at this point in time, is so costly.
"Our people in the depressed areas or in the rural villages may not be able to afford the prices of milk. But they can afford to plant malunggay trees which will provide more micro elements to a school child," he said.
Panganiban, who served as Agriculture Secretary before he was appointed NAPC head, said many things can be done in elementary schools to answer the nutrition needs of the school children.
"Two to three hectares of land can be easily planted with malunggay. After 4 or 5 months you can harvest the leaves. It has all the iron necessary for a school child of let's say grade one to grade six or even for small children who are not yet in school," he said.
Here to turn-over a Php 1.5 million training center funded by NAPC under the KALAHI Program, in Barangay Calaanan, Panganiban said he was instructed by Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to go around the country primarily to look at the poverty and hunger situation especially in the vulnerable provinces.
"I am actually here to see what other KALAHI projects of the national government are being implemented in region 10 by Presidential Assistant for Northern Mindanao Jojo Pupos in tandem with the local government unit and see for myself what will be our next activity after the training center have been turned over to Mayor Constantino Jaraula," he said.
Panganiban also said his second instruction from the President is to look at organic sources of food in the community without looking into the government program on school food feeding and the day care center food feeding program but rather in the school itself.
Maybe the schools can go into mallungay tree planting and provide an opportunity for the second phase of malungay production which is malungay leaves drying.
Dried malunggay leaves can be pulverizated and processed for malungay tea production which NAPC will help to find markets and be sold in Manila to supply vitamin A, beta carotene and potassium, all at the same time, for the old, young or teenager or the very young," he further said. (PIA 10) [top]