Oath Taking of Nutritionists-Dietitians
August 26, 2012
Twelve years ago, 191 nations collectively committed on eight lofty ideals to be achieved by the year 2015. These are known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), perhaps one of the most formidable of which is combating poverty, hunger, and disease.
According to the United Nations, one in four children in the developing world are still underweight. Alarmingly, children in rural areas are nearly twice as likely to be underweight than those in urban areas.
The latest National Nutrition Survey in 2008 reveals that the proportion of children aged 0-5 years who were underweight significantly increased, from 24.6 percent in 2003 to 26.2 percent in 2008. Meanwhile, the proportion of stunted children likewise increased remarkably from 26.3 percent in 2003 to 27.9 percent in 2008. Unfortunately, these were also the observed trends for children between 6 to 10 years old.
With only three years left until the deadline for governments to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition, which are said to be the most critical manifestations of poverty, government needs all the help it can get from today’s new breed of leaders. The kind of leaders who will fulfill our promise to the Filipino people, especially the poor and the underprivileged.
These are leaders who may well be in this very hall today.
I wish to congratulate all of you for passing the 2012 Nutritionist-Dietitian Licensure Examination of the Professional Regulation Commission. You have worked long and hard for this achievement, and your parents, mentors, and friends are proud of you.
But as you celebrate this auspicious moment, bear in mind that as the new Nutritionists-Dietitians of our country, you are now among the frontliners in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Your skills and expertise are invaluable to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, as well as contributing in the reduction of child mortality and improvement of maternal health. If you choose to take up this challenge, you will be instrumental to changing the fate of the entire nation and generations.
Recognizing the daunting task before us, I filed providing for a mandatory nationwide child nutrition program in all public elementary schools and barangay day care centers. I am also proposing the creation of a mandatory position for a nutrition worker in every barangay through Senate Bill No. 9.
But of course, legislative initiatives will be for naught if we lack the people to implement them dedicatedly, effectively, and efficiently. With your talent and expertise, I trust that you will be my partners in promoting solutions to the many challenges we face in public health and nutrition.
Enthusiasm, burning passion, and compassion – these will get you through the road ahead. Wherever you will be, remember that you always have the chance and the choice to contribute to the well-being of our people.
That journey begins today.
Thank you and congratulations.