SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – The provincial government has realized its commitment to providing a better quality of life to 222,688 children in Antique.
Antique Vice Governor Edgar Denosta, in delivering the 2023 local State of the Children report during the culmination of the National Children’s Month celebration held at the old capitol in San Jose de Buenavista on Wednesday, said the provincial government invested more in children by fighting for their health and well-being, for their education and protection.
“Like other families and communities, the provincial government of Antique shares the same aspiration to realize a better quality of life, peace, and security for the next generation,” Denosta said.
On health and nutrition, the provincial government, through the Provincial Nutrition Committee, has designed a program to improve the nutritional status of children and contribute to the Ambisyon Natin 2040, which intends to reduce child and maternal mortality.
“The best practice for nutrition in the Province of Antique is the Breastfeeding First 1,000 days (BF1KD) program,” he said.
The Helen Keller International (HKI) documented the impact of the BF1KD program; based on its assessment, the first 1,000 days (between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday} is significant in the child’s early development, he added.
HKI is an international non-profit organization working to fight malnutrition.
Denosta added that the province’s crude birth rate, a parameter to monitor the health and nutrition of children, decreased by 0.84 percent for every 1,000 population during the 2021-2022 period.
The infant mortality rate slightly decreased by 2.63 per 1,000 population in 2022 and the under-five mortality rate by 1.31 per 1,000 live births.
“Based on the Operation Timbang (OPT), the stunting decreased by 2.25 percent, and the combined wasted and severely wasted weight of children also decreased by 0.37 percent in 2022,” Denosta said.
Further, 841 Day Care Centers cater to 21,437 children under the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) program.
The Department of Education provides access to all school-age children in far-flung communities through its 187 schools and 373 teachers implementing the multi-grade program.
“The Antique Police Provincial Office Women and Children Protection Desk reported that cases on violence against children increased from 74 cases in 2021 to 85 cases in 2022 with 55 considered crime cleared and 30 crime solved,” Denosta said.
Cases of children in conflict with the law decreased from eight in 2021 to only three in 2022.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government has also evaluated the Provincial Council for the Protection of Children as ideal or 83.84 percent functional. (PNA)