BONTOC, Mountain Province – Thousands of students, faculty and staff, municipal and barangay officials and employees paraded along the thoroughfares of the capital town holding placards, slogans and posters promoting nutrition, disaster resiliency and responsible family planning; at the same time leading the campaign against smoking and chewing of betel nut on July 13, 2018.
Dubbed as “Bontoc Celebrates Foursome July”, the Bontoc Municipal Government through its Municipal Health Office (MHO) / Rural Health Unit (RHU) led the observance of the Nutrition Month; National Disaster Resiliency Month; World Population Day and Anti- Smoking and Momma Campaign.
In his message, Bontoc Mayor Franklin C. Odsey urged those in attendance especially the students to be advocates in promoting nutrition and healthy lifestyle, and disaster preparedness inside their homes and in their communities.
Also, he challenged the youth to be the partners of the government in the campaign against smoking and chewing of betel nut by not engaging to such; at the same time sharing the negative effects of these to families, relatives and friends.
“As the father of the municipality, I only want what is best to all of you as you are all my children. It is my fervent hope that we have a healthy and disaster- resilient community. We can achieve this, if we do our part for our Bontoc ay Kalalaychan,” the mayor added.
With this year’s theme “Ugaliing Magtanim, Sapat na Nutrisyon Aanihin” in celebration of the Nutrition Month, Provincial Nutritionist Dietitian Mary Dianne D. Saong encouraged those in attendance especially the students to start planting and/or growing their own vegetables at home and at their gardens.
She remarked that there are sufficient vegetables, crops and fruits that are available and can thrive in the locality which everyone can plant in their gardens. The early maturing vegetables with two to four months harvesting period like soybean, tomatoes, petchay, radish, mustard, sweet pepper, mung beans and carrots; the semi-annual vegetable which can be harvested in six to nine months such as ampalaya, eggplant, okra, garlic, onion, sayote and ginger; the annual vegetable with a span of 10 to 12 harvesting period to include patani, kangkong, alugbati, sweet potato, gabi and cassava; and the permanent crops like sugarcane, singkamas, pineapples, malunggay, banana, citrus and short fruit trees.
“Growing our own garden helps us in our grocery bills. It is also a means of exercise and the enjoyment of harvesting good-tasting produce because of the effort it took to get to the table,” Saong added.
In observance of the World Population Day with the theme “Family Planning is a Human Right”, Population Program Officer V Shirley A. Chiyawan advised the students to focus on their studies and say “No” to early sex as it will result to unintended and unwanted pregnancies.
Bannering the theme “Katatagan sa Kalamidad ay Makakamtan Kung Sapat ang Kaalaman sa Kahandaan” in observance of the National Disaster Resiliency Month, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Johanna F. Padaen reiterated her call to the public to actively participate in the Information Education and Communication (IEC) campaign and take seriously the earthquake drills being conducted quarterly in order to be prepared and know what to do in occurrence of an earthquake.
She added that the conduct of IEC, earthquake drills and training of emergency responders are some of the avenues in building a resilient community.
On the Anti- Smoking and Momma Campaign with the theme “Tigilan na ang Paninigarilyo at Pagngunguya ng Momma”, an official of the capital town even stepped-up and shared to the audience his experience of being a smoker and how he quitted the habit.
Sangguniang Bayan member Atty. Alsannyster F. Patingan who answered the questions from the audience narrated that he started smoking when he reviewed for the BAR Examinations. He admitted that the one stick of cigarette multiply in number as he got hooked and addicted into smoking.
According to him, it was because of health reasons that he decided to instantly stopped from smoking. It was his fourth and successful attempt to kick the habit.
“If you are not a smoker, do not try and do not start. To smokers, do stop. For some, quitting may not be easy but it is possible. Why do you spend money for the thing that will kill you,” Atty. Patingan emphasized.
He further informed the audience of the Anti- Smoking Ordinance of Bontoc, prohibiting smoking of any tobacco product, electronic device and sisha.
The ordinance prohibits smoking in public conveyances, government –owned vehicles, accommodation and entertainment establishments, work places, enclosed or partially enclosed public places, public buildings, and public outdoor spaces.
He elaborated that any person who smokes within the prohibited places; any establishment which knowingly allows and tolerates smoking of any tobacco product or using of electronic device systems and sisha; any establishment which refuses the entry of the members the Anti- Smoking Task Force or its duly authorized representatives; and any operator, driver conductor or inspector of public conveyances, government owned and/or company owned vehicles who knowingly tolerates and/or fails to warn or report violators of the ordinance to the task force or its duly representatives or any law enforcer shall be penalized.
Violators of the ordinance can be fined P1, 000.00 or one-month imprisonment or both at the discretion of the court for the first offense; P1, 500.00 or two- month imprisonment or both at the discretion of the court for the second offense; and P2, 000.00 or four-month imprisonment or both at the discretion of the court for the third and succeeding offenses.
The ordinance will be fully enforced once No Smoking signages will be posted in the vicinities of Bontoc.
Meanwhile, giving more meaning to the celebration were the presentations of the Mountain Province General Comprehensive High School (MPGCHS) focusing on Nutrition Month; Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) highlighting the observance of World Population Day; All Saints Mission Incorporated School (ASMIS) depicting National Disaster Resilience Month; and XIJEN reflecting the campaign on Anti-Smoking and Momma.
The schools who presented were given a cash prize of P3,000.00 each. Aside from this, the winners in the Poster Making Contest and Slogan Contest received a cash prize of P500.00, P400.00 and P300.00 for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Places, respectively.
Dr. Diga Kay D. Gomez, the Municipal Health Officer of Bontoc expressed her gratitude to everyone who participated that led to the success of the activity.
By Alpine L. Killa