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PBBM receptive to DSWD chief’s proposal to include First 1000 day-grant in 4Ps

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr is open to the proposal of adding a First 1000 day-grant for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries who are pregnant, nursing, or those with two-year old children as part of efforts to address malnutrition and stunting in the country, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian said on Tuesday (February 20).

“Ito ay isang panukala lamang. Sinabi ko nga sa ating Pangulo doon sa aming sectoral meeting that we might introduce a First 1000 day-grant kung saan ang mga buntis hanggang may anak na 2-years old may panibago silang grants that only last until matapos sila sa life stage na ‘yon,” Secretary Gatchalian said during the Malacanang press briefing on February 20.

(This is just a proposal. I told the President during our sectoral meeting that we might introduce a First 1000 day-grant wherein beneficiaries who are pregnant and those with 2-year old children will have additional grants that only last until they have passed through such life stage.)

Secretary Gatchalian said President Marcos seemed receptive to the idea and has instructed the DSWD to work with concerned agencies, particularly with the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), to sharpen the DSWD proposal.

The DSWD Secretary explained that this proposed additional grant will serve as an incentive for the target beneficiaries to avail of health services.

“Ito ay upang magkaroon sila ng insentibo para sa tinatawag naming health-seeking behavior na ibig sabihin mapipilitan silang pumunta sa health center, magparehistro, kumuha ng pre-at post-natal care, at post-partum treatment, pati na rin immunization para sa kanilang mga anak edad 0 to 2 years old,” Secretary Gatchalian explained.

(This is to serve as an incentive for them to have this what we call health-seeking behavior which means they will be motivated to go to the health center, register, avail of pre-and post-natal care, and post-partum treatment, including immunization for their 0 to 2-year old children.)

The DSWD chief said this proposed grant would only be for 4Ps subset beneficiaries who are pregnant, nursing, or those with 0 to 2-year old children and is just temporary until such time that they have passed through the stage.

The DSWD serves as the chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger (IATF-ZH) which has been directed by the President to prioritize the implementation and monitoring of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programs to address food insecurity in the country.

Meanwhile, the Malusog at Matalinong Bata Coalition (MMB Coalition), an alliance of advocacy groups, academics, and nutrition advocates committed to fighting stunting in the Philippines through policy reforms, has expressed its support to the proposal of the DSWD chief.

In a statement, the MMB Coalition described stunting as a critical condition where children suffer from restricted growth and cognitive development due to malnutrition.

The group also cited that stunting currently affects approximately 26.7% of Filipino children between infancy and five years of age.

“Although stunting is most visibly marked by limited physical growth, its more profound impact is on cerebral development, with 80% of brain growth occurring by the age of two and 90% by five,” the MMB Coalition said.

Suboptimal brain development contributes to diminished academic achievements and reduced economic prospects in adulthood, according to the group.

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