GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/28 September) – Some 3,500 school children in South Cotabato were chosen as beneficiaries for the fourth phase of the province’s anti-malnutrition initiative Kapit-Bisig Para sa Kabataan project. Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr. said they decided to continue with the project’s implementation this year in a bid to further lower the prevalence rate of malnutrition among pre-school and school-age children in the province’s 10 towns and lone city. “The beneficiaries mainly cover 32% of the noted undernourished children in the whole province this year,” Pingoy said. The governor said the provincial government and the program’s partners earlier decided to expand its coverage this year to increase the number of beneficiaries. The program’s main partners are pineapple giant Dole Philippines Inc., Mahintana Foundation, Dole Cooperative and the Rotary Club of Koronadal. During its first three phases, the program was mainly implemented in selected areas in the province with high prevalence of malnutirition. “We decided to add more beneficiaries and adopt the entire 10 towns and lone city of the province as coverage area,” Pingoy said. Ma. Ana Uy, community services division chief of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, said the program will mainly provide beneficiaries with adequate and nutritious food. She said the beneficiaries will be fed with at least six different formulated recipes for 42 days. “We decided to come up with new nutritious recipes using Dole pineapple products. We gave the foods a new twist that children will definitely love,” Uy said. She said the six newly formulated recipes are Frusame, Puto Fruto, Nutrihot Halo-halo, Blanca de Fruta, Fruit Champy and Nutrisam Gel and contain malunggay or moringa, squash powder, mongo, evaporated milk, sugar, oil, grated and tidbits of pineapple as the main ingredients. “These food combinations have been proven effective in increasing the weight of children with malnutrition problems,” she said. Pingoy assured that the provincial government will continue to provide the needed resources and push for the implementation of the program to help further curb the cases of malnutrition in the area. “We will continue with this project to help our undernourished children and we’re very grateful to our partners who never wavered in their support to this endeavor,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)
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