Aklan town cited most outstanding municipality in Western Visayas
by Venus G. Villanueva
Kalibo, Aklan (10 October) -- For implementing innovative projects and services in support of the nutrition programs of the government, the town of Nabas, located in the western part of Aklan was adjudged as Region 6'S Outstanding Municipality during the 18th Nutrition Congress held recently at the Grand Hotel in Iloilo City.
As the region's most outstanding municipality for three consecutive years, Nabas town is a Consistent Regional Winner on Nutrition (CROWN) awardee and is to maintain this status for three years. If it maintains this status, Nabas will be awarded the National Honor Award, the highest award given to municipalities and provinces with outstanding performance in implementing nutrition programs. Kalibo, the province' capital town, and Aklan itself, had been recipients of this awards already, according to Crescini Roxas, ND II of the Provincial Health Office here.
Roxas said Nabas edged out its rivals from other provinces in Region 6 because its nutrition program has the full support of the local leaders and it has instituted innovative projects for nutrition to improve the health of its constituents especially the children.
Roxas said Nabas is the only municipality in Aklan which has a salt iodizing machine to ensure that Nabasnons have ample supply of iodized salt to prevent iodine-deficiency among its constituents. It also produces insumix, a nutritious but affordable mix of food for young children. All barangays in Nabas have assigned midwives, with their salaries paid by the local government.
Roxas also said that residents of the municipalities are holders of green passports - another innovative program introduced by the Department of Interior and Local Government. Under the program, a green card is given to a family if it has met the health requirements stipulated in the program -the children are all fully-immunized; the household has a sanitary toilet, the family cooperates with government's other programs, and maintains a backyard vegetable garden for their daily supply of fresh vegetables and at the same time to augment family income.
Practicing backyard gardening or farming is now being pushed by the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture to support households' daily needs in vegetables.
BPI Officer-In-Charge Joel Rudinas said 766,863 households in the country have tapped the Programnag Gulayan Para sa Masa, located in the 30 priority provinces that were assessed by the DA's Hunger Mitigation Task Force.
Under the program, DA Regional Field Units are providing seeds, training and services to all interested households, he added.
In Region 6, only the province of Antique is included in this program, according to Aklan Provincial Agriculturist Delano T. Tefora.
"However, if local governments here opt to spend for the institutionalization or practice of backyard gardening to help mitigate hunger, it would be much better," according to Tefora.
Tefora said backyard gardening in Aklan households will also help lower prices of vegetable in Aklan public markets now. Prices of some vegetables, based on OPA's latest report, have gone up here.
Aklan leaders here hope the Nabas experience will be replicated in all municipalities here, especially the backyard gardening practice. (PIA) [top]