PAGCOR allocates over P42 million for its Feeding Program

Monday | November 24, 2014 | 5:15 PM

PAGCOR allocates over P42 million for its Feeding Program
The PAGCOR Feeding Program will provide the students of the Naguilian Elementary School in Ilocos Norte with complete, nutritious meals for 120 days to help them attain their ideal weight and improve their overall nutritional condition.

As part of its continuing efforts to help the government combat malnutrition among Filipino children, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has allocated more than P42 million for its nationwide feeding program for School Year 2014-2015.

About 10,000 “severely wasted” and “wasted” students in various public elementary schools nationwide are expected to benefit from the program.

Henry Reyes, PAGCOR’s Assistant VP for Community Relations and Services Department said the beneficiaries of the agency’s feeding program will come from roughly 175 public schools located in casino host-cities like Metro Manila, Angeles, Bacolod, Cebu, Davao, Laoag, Olongapo and Tagaytay.

“The PAGCOR Feeding Program beneficiaries will be fed with complete, nutritious meals for 120 days to help them attain their ideal weight and to also improve their overall health and well being. We are giving priority to schools with high incidence of “severely wasted” or “wasted” pupils (considered the poorest of the poor) in areas where the PAGCOR properties are located,” Reyes added.

Action Contre la Faim or ACF International which carries out the “Action Against Hunger” campaign in 45 countries, said that “severe wasting” is characterized by massive loss of body fat and muscle tissue. Severely wasted children, the humanitarian organization added, “look almost elderly and their bodies are extremely thin and skeletal. They suffer from severe acute malnutrition.” Meantime, “wasted” children are those with moderate acute malnutrition.

Reyes said that for SY 2014-2015, the PAGCOR Feeding Program is aiming to cover a maximum of 140 students per school. “So far, our feeding project has already benefitted close to 38,000 public elementary students in more than 500 public schools since we launched it in July 2010,” he added.

The new batch of beneficiaries of the PAGCOR Feeding Program includes nearly 400 students in eight public schools in Ilocos Norte namely Naguilian Elementary School, Acnam-Caray Elementary School, Monte Elementary School, Danao Elementary School, Dingras West Elementary School, Cabittuaran Elementary School, Gubang Elementary School and Canaam Elementary School.

Principal Romualdo Pascua of Dingras West Elementary School in Ilocos Norte said the PAGCOR Feeding program will improve the health of their 130 “severely wasted” and “wasted” students whose families could not afford to feed them.

PAGCOR allocates over P42 million for its Feeding Program
Employees of Casino Filipino Laoag take time out of their busy schedules to volunteer in the Feeding Program activities carried out by the branch in various public schools in Ilocos Norte.

“Ang mga batang ito ay galing sa mga mahirap na pamilya. Malaking tulong ang feeding program ng PAGCOR. Mada-dagdagan ng sustansya ang kanilang kinakain. Kapag wasto ang nutrisyon, mas maganda ang resulta ng kanilang pag-aaral,” Pascua said.

Another school that is benefitting from the program is the Naguilian Elementary School which is 50 kilometers away from Laoag City. Its Officer-in-Charge Marites Remos said more than half of their 125 students severely lack nutrition.

Many of their students are identified as “severely wasted” like nine-year-old Eilahnia who only weighs 16 kilos. She weighs 10 kilos less than the normal weight of 26 kilos for children her age.

According to Remos, Eilahnia is a slow learner compared to her other classmates. “Yung reading level nya ay below the desired reading level. Malaking factor dyan yung kakulangan ng bata sa nutrition. Kaya malaking tulong na napili syang beneficiary ng PAGCOR Feeding Program,” Remos added.

Eilahnia shared that their family rarely eat meat or fish. What they have most of the time is rice with boiled vegetable leaves and ‘bagoong’. The grade 4 pupil is thankful that she was chosen as one of the beneficiaries of the PAGCOR Feeding Program. At least now, she can already eat one complete meal everyday for the next five months. “Agyaman nac ta mapacan na cami (Salamat po dahil mapapa-kain na kami),” Eilahnia said.

Meanwhile, Karen Ignacio who is Casino Filipino Laoag’s Branch Nurse hopes that the students will improve their weight and nutritional state through the feeding program. “Our target is for our beneficiaries to reach a healthy weight at the end of the program. Kung hindi man mataas, at least mai-angat natin sa border yung timbang,” she said.

Ignacio is one of several PAGCOR employees who voluntarily assist in the agency’s feeding sessions during her spare time. “I volunteer because I want to help these school children. Hindi man financial ‘yung maibigay natin, makaka-tulong naman tayong mai-angat yung nutrition status nila.”

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