Press Release
July 20, 2016


Senator Sonny Angara has filed a bill institutionalizing a health care package for the child's first 1,000 days and is hoping that the measure secures official backing in the Duterte administration's first 100 days in office.

"The stakes are high, and the benefits are clear. Because of this, we would like to make this project a mandate and not just an option for a government that campaigned on the promise of malasakit," Angara explained.

Angara said that while the First 1,000 Days Intervention Program has a P3.5-billion budget this year, a law would ensure that it becomes a flagship government program.

In his bill's explanatory note, Angara cited the globally-accepted fact that a human being's first 1,000 days--the period covering the nine months of a mother's pregnancy and her child's first two years--is crucial to a child's fair start in life.

Angara said "womb-to-crib" measures boost maternal and child health, cuts child deaths, improves nutrition, and provides a pathway to good education and out of poverty.

"Unfortunately, many are unaware of this. Programs for ante-natal and post-natal care may be in place, but more priority and policy focus must be dedicated to ensuring that our pregnant mothers and newborns receive proper nutrition and care," Angara said.

Globally, the minimum First 1,000 Days Package involves proper nutrition for pregnant mothers, improved breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices, protection against diseases to children, and proper feeding of children who are sick and undernourished.

Angara's bill meets this benchmark and adds measures like vaccinations, check ups, monitoring systems, and even facilities like breastfeeding stations and human milk banks.

To implement these, the bill directs the government to train and tap barangay health personnel and other community health professionals.

It likewise seeks annual appropriations for the program with focus on key interventions like nutrition and health care for pregnant mothers, protection against hunger and disease for children with ages six to 24 months, and feeding programs for sick and undernourished children.

As he pressed for presidential endorsement of his measure, Angara, however, said the Duterte administration can include the First 1,000 Days Package as a banner program in the 2017 national budget it would propose next month.

Angara said this is one program that can be funded by increased sin tax collections and the rationalization of the use of gaming revenues.

In many of his speeches prior to assuming office on June 30, President Duterte has vowed to rechannel state gaming revenues to health programs that would benefit the poor.

Angara is an active member of the Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development Foundation, whose policy brief highlights the need for a child to get proper nutrition during the first 1,000 days to prevent more than one-third of child deaths annually.

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