PAGCOR helps over 13,000 undernourished school children get proper nutrition

Wednesday | Apr. 26, 2017 | 5:00 PM

PAGCOR helps over 13,000 undernourished school children get proper nutrition
Seven-year-old Faisa Jumadil does not let her family’s plight get in the way of her dream to become a teacher someday.

MORE than 13,000 undernourished students from 105 public schools attained their target healthy weight after a four-month feeding session conducted by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) for school year 2016-2017.

In coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd), the Feeding Program recently culminated with Casino Filipino (CF) Angeles as the branch with the highest number of recipients which reached 4,000. CF Cebu and Davao came in second and third with 2,060 and 1,200 beneficiaries, respectively.

PAGCOR spent over P50 million for the four-month feeding sessions alone which helped addressed the nutritional needs of nearly 5,000 severely wasted and over 8,000 wasted pupils from Kinder to Grade Six.

One of the beneficiaries of the Program was seven-year-old Faisa Jumadil, an incoming Grade 3 student at Zonta Elementary School in Davao City.

Faisa is used to going to school on an empty stomach especially when her father Gani is unable to go fishing due to bad weather. “Madalas akong hindi makapangisda lalo na’t malakas ang hangin sa dagat,” rued the 47-year-old Jumadil patriarch as he stared blankly at the strong waves that battered the small fishing boats docked on Isla Verde, a depressed coastal community inhabited by Muslim settlers.

The bad weather condition sometimes lasts for days; hence depriving the family of a decent meal. Worse, Gani could not buy medicines for his ailing wife whose psychiatric illness is triggered whenever she misses out on her medication. “Madalas na ganito ang sitwasyon namin, walang pagkain at walang pambili ng tambal (medicine) para sa misis ko,” he added.

PAGCOR helps over 13,000 undernourished school children get proper nutrition
Faisa Jumadil shows great enthusiasm in going to school every day despite being bereft of proper nutrition due to extreme poverty.

But as shy and frail-looking as she may be, Faisa was a picture of determination as she quietly pored over her books in one corner of their humble seaside abode. At a very young age, the young girl hopes to help her family get out from extreme poverty.

“Madalas na gutom ang anak kong iyan at pumapasok sa eskwela nang walang laman ang tiyan, pero napakasipag mag-aral kasi gusto niya raw maging teacher balang araw para makatulong daw sa aming pamilya,” her 42-year-old mother Zorayda proudly narrated.

The young girl’s perseverance and her family’s plight caught the attention of ZES teacher Marilou Figuracion. When PAGCOR’s Feeding Program chose their school as one of the beneficiaries, she did not think twice about including Faisa as beneficiary.

“Naaawa ako sa bata dahil hindi halos nakakakain nang maayos kasi madalas na walang makain ang pamilya niya. Napakalaking bagay na napasama siya sa PAGCOR Feeding Program dahil nagkaroon siya ng tamang nutrisyon para makapag-aral nang maayos at matupad ang pangarap niya para sa kanyang pamilya,” Figuracion said.

Served every school day with a complete meal composed of rice, meat, vegetable and fruits, Faisa gained 2.2 kilos in over three months under the Feeding Program.

PAGCOR helps over 13,000 undernourished school children get proper nutrition
Hope seems out of sight for the Jumadil family as food becomes scarce on days that the patriarch is unable to go fishing.

Other state-subsidized schools in Davao City that benefited from the project were Namnam Elementary School (NES) -- a remote learning institution in Marilog District predominated by Lumad natives; the Buhangin Central Elementary School (BCES) and the Cabantian Elementary School (CES).

Casino Filipino (CF) Davao Officer-in-Charge Estrella Luz Cabebe, who graced the program’s culmination in Mindanao said the Feeding Program is one of PAGCOR’s best Corporate Social Responsibility projects. “With this endeavor, we are able to share our blessings with kids who need proper nutrition to perform better in school,” she said.

PAGCOR’s Feeding Program, which has been going on for years, aims to help improve the nutritional status of severely undernourished public school students in selected elementary schools (with a nearby CF branch) by providing them with healthy meals for 120 days. The project also helps supplement the existing government feeding programs and hopes to address the worsening malnutrition among Filipino children.

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