Press Release
June 28, 2011


MANILA, PHILIPPINES--The private sector has rallied its support behind the nationwide Oh My Gulay! (OMG) campaign by sponsoring school vegetable gardens in public elementary schools around the country. The donors' signing was held last June 28, 2011 at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, attended by OMG lead convenor Senator Edgardo J. Angara and Department of Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro.

For this school year, BDO Foundation, Asian Terminals Inc, Sunwest Care Foundation, Infant Pediatrics and Nutrition Association of the Philippines (IPNAP) and Aboitiz Foundation will adopt a total of 40 public elementary schools across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

This means providing funds for the establishment of vegetable plots in their chosen schools, to be planted with common vegetables like kalabasa, sitaw, patola, talong, kamatis, ampalaya and others. These vegetables were popularized on TV and radio by celebrities like Anne Curtis, Sarah Geronimo, Cristine Reyes, Mark Bautista and Sam Pinto who advocated OMG! in a tri-media campaign launched earlier this year.

The school gardening program also includes the training of teachers in the nutritional benefits of vegetables through an instructional module to be included in their home economics lesson. East West Seed Co. is OMG's implementing partner, at the frontlines of making this vision a reality by providing technical expertise in modern vegetable farming.

According to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, 26 out of every 100 school-age children in the country are malnourished. The most common forms of malnutrition are vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

The OMG advocacy program, a brainchild of Angara, seeks to battle this "hidden hunger" not only by creating greater awareness about the wonders vegetable consumption, but also by empowering children, their schools and their families to produce and enjoy their own vitamin- and mineral-rich vegetables.

"Our educational system is already beset with so many problems. We lack funds, facilities, and skilled teachers. But we cannot allow ourselves neglect one fundamental cause of the dwindling quality of education: malnutrition in schoolchildren." said Angara, who chairs the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture. "We cannot ignore the obvious link between nutrition and education."

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