BAGUIO CITY – The National Nutrition Council (NNC) is rallying concerned sectors to support the immediate passage of House Bill (HB) 6501 that seeks to strengthen the said council, repealing for the purpose Presidential Decree (Pd) No. 491, expanding its powers and functions, and for other purposes.
The NNC stated this bill was introduced by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez in the current 19th Congress on December 06, 2022 where the bill highlights the change in the institution classification of the agency from a council to a Commission with changes in its organizational composition, additional functions and responsibilities and increase human resource, thus, resulting in strengthened NNC.
The council added that a more strengthened NNC can respond more effectively and efficiently to the persistent malnutrition in the country and an improved and strengthened system of coordination and implementation of nutrition governance at all levels.
As the highest policy-making and coordinating body on nutrition in the country, the NNC is tasked to formulate national food and nutrition policies and strategies, coordinate planning, monitor and evaluate the national nutrition program, and serve as the policy, coordinating and advisory body on concerns related to food, nutrition and health drawing its mandate from PD 491, series of 1974, or the Nutrition Act of the Philippines.
However, despite NNC’s vital role in leading the fight against malnutrition, NNC has remained a small agency since its creation in 1974, with less than 100 staff in combined central and regional offices.
Aside from rallying the support of lawmakers from the different legislative districts for the immediate passage of the proposed law, the NNC is also seeking the support of various local governments by passing local legislations supporting the immediate passage of this bill to ensure the strengthened NNC in the future.
Over the past 4 decades, the NNC had been in charge of the implementation of various nutrition programs, projects and activities to ensure a healthy lifestyle among Filipinos.
The NNC is optimistic it will be able to get the support from the different local governments and members of the House of Representatives from the different legislative districts so that the proposed law will be immediately acted upon by the concerned House committee in the present Congress.
The NNC is also pushing for the passage of the counterpart bill in the Senate so that the deliberations on the separate bills will be done independently by both chambers and once approved, the same will undergo the regular bicameral conference committee for the synchronization of conflicting provisions before submitting the ratified versions of the bill to President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. for signing this into law.
Once converted into a Commission, the NNC will be performing more functions that will pave the way for the improved implementation of health and nutrition initiatives in the country to contribute in improving the overall nutritional status of Filipinos.