Press Release
July 28, 2011


In line with the National Nutrition Month, students and teachers in 40 public elementary schools all over the country will be taught how to plant vegetables in their schools as part of Senator Edgardo J. Angara's "Oh My Gulay!" (OMG!) Campaign.

Donors from the private sector, namely Banco De Oro Foundation, Asian Terminals Inc., Sunwest Care Foundation, Infant Pediatrics and Nutrition Association of the Philippines (IPNAP) and Aboitiz Foundation, are sponsoring this effort in time to cap off Nutrition Month, celebrated this July.

The sponsorship covers the cost of seeds, materials, and training of teachers and students through OMG!'s implementing partner, East West Seed Co.

Experts from East West Seed will determine what kind of crops can be sustained in each individual school--including the establishment of vertical gardens for schools that are less spacious than others.

This campaign aims to combat vitamin and mineral deficiency or "hidden hunger", which is the leading cause of malnutrition in schoolchildren today. OMG!'s awareness campaign, launched earlier this year, involves celebrity advocates such as Anne Curtis, Sarah Geronimo and Sam Pinto talking about the health benefits of sitaw, kalabasa and kamote.

Angara believes that fighting malnutrition can help lower the troubling dropout rates among Filipino public school children.

"There is a definite link between health and education," said Angara, who authored the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in the 15th Congress. "Healthy children have better chances of receiving uninterrupted education. By fighting malnutrition, we give them access to more opportunities for schooling, and we invest in our own country's progress."

"What OMG is doing is involving the children and their teachers in planting and harvesting vegetables, so they will be more appreciative of it. Studies show that children are more eager to eat vegetables when they were the ones who planted and harvested them," added Angara. "We make nutrition accessible to them, and teach them how to sustain it. They do not needed added expense to afford good health. In fact, vegetable planting can even become a means of income for their families."

Armin Luistro, Secretary of Education, is working closely with Angara to make sure that the OMG! campaign continues to bear fruit, and hopefully reach all 45,000 public elementary schools in the country.

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