PIA News Service - Friday, December 6, 2013

MindaComNet highlights BAF in day 2

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Dec. 6 (PIA) – During the second day of the Mindanao Communicators’ Network (MindaComNet) Congress and Workshop held on Friday at the Big 8 Corporate Hotel in Tagum City, Atty. Jose Yusup Lorena, Undersecretary of Bangsamoro Office and Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) discussed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its significance.

Yusup bared that the Framework Agreement outlines the general features of the political settlement between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“It defines the structure and powers of the Bangsamoro entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It also sets the principles, processes and mechanisms for the transition until the regular election in 2016 for the new Bangsamoro autonomous political entity. The agreement paves the way forward to the just resolution of the historical divide between the Government and the Bangsamoro,” said Yusup.

When asked why there is a need for a Framework Agreement, Yusup explained that the Framework Agreement puts together the points of concensus achieved in the series of talks between the Philippine Government and the MILF that took off with the forging of the Ceasefire Agreement in 1997. “It elaborates on the nature of the political entity that will replace the ARMM. This new entity shall be called Bangsamoro. The document also charts the road map or the steps and mechanisms for the transition leading to the creation of the Bangsamoro. The road map can aptly be described as an inclusive and people-driven process,” he added.

As to its finality, Yusup also stressed that it is not yet the final peace agreement. “The Philippine Government and the MILF panels will continue to discuss the details that will form the different annexes to the Agreement. There shall be annexes on power-sharing, wealth-sharing, normalization and transitional mechanisms. The Framework document and the annexes all together will constitute the comprehensive agreement. Both panels aim to finish the annexes within this year,” he said.

It was also learned that after signing the Framework Agreement, the President will issue an Executive Order that will create the Transition Commission (TC), wherein eight members of the TC shall be selected by the MILF; seven shall be selected by the Philippine Government. Both parties are committed to make the TC representative of the different sectors and groups in the Bangsamoro.

The TC shall work on a draft Bangsamoro Basic Law. The draft law shall then be submitted to Congress for deliberation. Once the Bangsamoro Basic Law is passed and signed by the President, a plebiscite shall be conducted in the envisioned core territory of the Bangsamoro. Elections for the new Bangsamoro government will be held in 2016.
As to how will the Bangsamoro government will look like, Yusup said that the Bangsamoro shall have a ministerial form. Voters will vote for political parties, and the parties who win seats in the legislative body shall elect the head of the Bangsamoro.

“The Philippine Government believes that the ministerial system will support the development of a strong and responsible party system in the Bangsamoro. The MILF and all other political forces, through political parties, will be able to participate in elections and seek power through democratic and peaceful means,” Yusup emphasized. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


Feature: Dealing with School Children Who are Picky Eaters

By Imelda A. Agdeppa

A child’s school-age is between five to ten years old. It is a period of cognitive learning, body development, and behavior formation. Children are highly active and spend most of the time in school, which eats up about one-fourth of their time. Due to school and extra-curricular activities, attention is often divided, and along with this is a “hard-to-please” attitude which stereotypes a child as “the picky eater”.

The picky eaters are so much fascinated with color, appearance, and taste but seldom attracted to the different spectrum of colors and appearances of vegetables and fruits. According to the results of the 2008 National Nutrition Survey (NNS) by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), fruits and vegetables, usually non-leafy varieties, only compose the bottom half of the foods frequently consumed by school-age children.

The individual 24-hour food recall showed that children consume only about one-third (1/3) cup of vegetables and 44 grams (g) or about one-half (½) piece medium-sized banana lacatan daily. The Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos recommends about one cup of vegetables and two medium-sized fruit daily.

One significant result of the NNS in 2008 is that the 30-item list of most frequently consumed food includes snack foods, soft drinks, instant noodles, hotdog, and powdered juices. This is quite alarming considering that children’s preference for unhealthy food choices can be carried on until adulthood and this makes them at-risk to diet-related diseases.

Parents usually have difficulty in feeding children due to the latter’s preference for a single food item like fried chicken, hotdogs, and nuggets. Children frequently choose these at meal times and neglect other food items. A study led by Stevenson in 2007 implied that healthy food items are being described as “bland” and “do not have any taste at all.” Guideline number 1 of the Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos 2000 recommends eating a variety of foods every day, while guideline number 5 encourages eating more vegetables, fruits and root crops.

Different food items contribute different nutrients, and with a wide range of available healthy foods to choose from, several food items and combinations can suit the demanding taste of children.

Being a highly active individual, a child’s requirements increase as age increases, ranging from 1,410 to 2,030 kilocalories per day according to the Recommended Energy and Nutrient Intakes, 2002 of the FNRI. However, the results of the recent NNS indicated that only one-fifth (1/5) or 21.5 percent (%) of the children population is meeting the requirement for energy. When energy requirement is not met despite energy-dense food intakes, some micronutrients may also be lacking. Prolonged deficiency in dietary requirements makes an individual at-risk to different health problems.

Technology is one factor that acts both as a solution towards easy living and a dilemma for most parents. Technology does make life simpler and easier, from small mobile phones to huge satellite dishes, but it also affects the eating patterns of the younger generation. A study by Story and French in 2004 showed that children exposed to food advertisement on snacks, beverages, and fast-foods opted to buy the said food item afterwards. Use of mobile phones and tablets eats up the time of children that should have been allocated either to proper eating at the table or engaging in productive physical activity.

A combination of factors contributes to under- and over nutrition in the same household. This is called the double burden of malnutrition. Although the prevalence of underweight children decreased from 32.4 percent (%) in 2008 to 32.0 percent (%) in 2011, the prevalence of overweight children increased from 6.6 percent (%) in 2008 to 7.5 percent (%) in 2011. Efforts to alleviate malnutrition would only be significant if both under- and over-nutrition are considerably addressed.

If you think your child’s eating pattern is just a small problem, think again. Malnutrition is a pressing concern of the country due to its health risks in future life stages. Proper guidance and the changing of perception among children might be the future solutions to fight malnutrition. Introduction of fruits and vegetables in significant amounts to a child’s daily diet will not only improve nutrition, but when all family members think and act alike, it may also reduce if not totally eliminate malnutrition in the country.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City. Email: mvc@fnri.dost.gov.ph. Telefax: 837-2934 and 827-3164, or call 837-2071 local 2296 or visit our website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph. (FNRI-DOST S & T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)


Feature: Better brown than white: moving towards a healthier form of rice

By Charina A. Javier

The “unli-rice” phenomenon is proof that rice is the most commonly consumed food item of Filipinos.

Rice is the staple food among Filipinos which contributes about 35.7 percent of the average daily individual food intake, making it the major source of carbohydrates in the Filipino diet. The Food Consumption Survey (FCS) by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) showed that the daily rice intake per person has risen from 272 grams in 1993 to 291 grams in 2003 and 307 grams 2008.

Rice has several types, varieties and forms. Its type is usually based on grain size, thus we have, long grain, medium grain, short grain or waxy. Its varieties usually depend of the source or area where rice is grown. In the Philippines, common varieties include Dinorado, Sinandomeng, Milagrosa, Maharlika, Angelika, Malagkit, Wagwag, Ifugao or mountain rice, among others.

Rice forms include rough or paddy rice which still includes the hull, brown rice where only the hull is removed, and regular milled rice which is often referred to as white or polished rice.

Brown rice, the unmilled form of rice, is gaining popularity today primarily due to its nutritional benefits. The bran layer of brown rice is known to be rich in dietary fiber, minerals and B vitamins.

Brown rice has higher nutrient, vitamin and mineral content despite poor acceptability and shelf life in comparison to milled rice.  Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice in terms of niacin, thiamin, phosphorus and calcium. Moreover, it provides all the necessary carbohydrate requirements of an individual just like white rice. The dietary fiber it contributes is attributed to the prevention of risk of obesity, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases and some forms of cancer.

Brown rice is a healthier alternative that will hopefully reduce the demand for white rice while increasing the intake for micronutrients and dietary fiber. These nutrients has been associated with the prevention of micronutrient deficiencies and lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes and some forms of cancer.

At present, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) has successfully developed the technology for extending the shelf-life of brown rice so that now, we can store it at a much longer time. The Institute is also currently undertaking studies on characterization and bioavailability to support the growing interest about this food.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Ave., Bicutan, Taguig City; Tel/Fax Number: 837-2934 and 837-3164; e-mail: mvc@fnri.dost.gov.ph, mar_v_c@yahoo.com; FNRI-DOST website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph. (FNRI-DOST S&T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)


Feature: Why breastfeeding is important

By Imelda A. Agdeppa

Attainment of optimum health is a child’s right that can be obtained through proper nutrition. One must receive adequate nutrition and be given safe, nutritious, and readily available food to fulfill this.

Proper nutrition of a child is first obtained through breastfeeding right after birth. Breastmilk is the ideal food for newborns and infants because it provides all the nutrients they need for healthy development. It is proven safe and contains antibodies that help protect the infants from common childhood illnesses like diarrhea and pneumonia which are the two primary causes of childhood mortality worldwide. Also it is readily available and affordable which allows the infants to get  the adequate nourishment.

Studies showed that adults who are breastfed during infancy often have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, lower rates of overweight and obesity, and significantly lower rates of developing Type 2 diabetes mellitus. In addition, evidence showed that people who were breastfed perform better intellectually than those who were not, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) in July 2012.

Breastfeeding is not only beneficial to babies but to mothers, too. Exclusive breastfeeding can help as a natural birth control method where 98 percent of protection against pregnancy in the first six months after birth is ensured.  Breastfeeding reduces risk for breast and ovarian cancers, helps women regain their pre-pregnancy weight faster, and also lowers the risk of obesity, the WHO added.

Based on the Facts and Figures 2011 of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), current breastfeeding practices were observed in the Philippines. For instance, about 63 percent of children less than two months of age were exclusively breastfed.

Breastfeeding decreased with age gradually from 3-6 months of age and remarkably decreased during 7 months and beyond.

Other groups of the population representing 19 percent were on breastmilk and other milk and 13 percent were purely fed with other milk.

The WHO does not recommended infant formula over breastmilk since it does not contain antibodies found in breastmilk. Also, there are risks arising from the use of unsafe water, unsterilized utensils or the potential presence of bacteria in powdered formula when not properly prepared. Furthermore, if formula becomes unavailable, returning to breastmilk may not be an option due to decreased breastmilk production.

It is recommended globally that breastfeeding should be done continuously from birth to two years beyond since it is an important component of the child’s diet. It is stated in the Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos 2012 to “Breastfeed infants exclusively from birth up to 6 months then give appropriate complementary foods while continuing breastfeeding for 2 years and beyond for optimum growth and development”.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City. E-mail: mcv@fnri.dost.gov.ph, Telefax: 837-2934 and 827-3164, or call: 8372071 local 2296 or visit our website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph. (FNRI-DOST S & T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)