THE Commission on Population (Popcom 10) in Northern Mindanao celebrated the second birthday of the region’s six symbolic 100 millionth babies in a fast-food chain here at Limketkai Mall Wednesday morning, July 27.
Jeremias Gupit, Popcom regional director said this year’s birthday bash highlights the status of the symbolic babies’ health and nutrition for the past two years.
“Ang atong katuyo-an niin aron unta ma-focus ang attention ug masabtan sa atong katawhan ang tinguha nga ang pag-look after sa atong mga bata magsugod bisan anaa pa siya sa tiyan sa iyang mama ug hangtod sa 1000 days. Gitutukan nato kini nga particular time because this stage is considered the make or break stage sa bata, and sa atong part, aron mahatagan sila sa saktong panerbisyo sa ilang panglawas,” Gupit said.
The babies include Angelique Eunice Obial from the municipality of Lala, Lanao del Norte, Renna Mae Suquib of Kitaotao town in Bukidnon, Jessica Babael of Mambajao, Camiguin, Joven Mil Carillo from Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur, Juliane Cobayan from barangay Tagpangi in this city and Rundy Boy Dantes Jr. from this city too.
However, only Obial, Suquib, and Carillo were able to attend the birthday celebration sponsored by Popcom, Department of Health in Northern Mindanao and National Nutrition Council.
The babies received cash gifts worth P3,000, birthday cakes, and gifts of clothing and blankets.
Since they were identified in 2014, Gupit said the symbolic babies have been monitored by its agency’s field officers and municipal health officers to check on their well-being.
Gupit said the birth of the 100 millionth babies not only signifies blessing and fulfillment but also represents the country’s challenging demographic status due to the threat of overpopulation.
He said together with other agencies, they are also educating parents on the benefits of family planning for its forceful implementation soon.
“Maayo gayud nga karon pa lang ato na silang gi-counseling for holistic planning for their family along with the instructions and advises from our professionals kung unsaon ang saktong pag-atiman sa isa ka bata,” Gupit said.
NNC-Northern Mindanao coordinator Marissa DM Navales also pointed out that complementary feeding could be a possible choice when breast milk alone is no longer sufficient to meet the nutritional requirements of infants.
“Kayang-kaya itong gawin ng isang ordinary mother lang because pwede tayong mag-start sa pag-feed ng simpleng kalabasa lang, malunggay, root crops pwede na din basta sa tamang amount and the right frequency too,” Navales said.
As for the symbolic babies, Navales said they will particularly monitor the infants’ height and weight.
“Babalikan namin sila sa kanilang mga barangay to monitor their nutritional status, kung may kulang for the past two years, malaman natin para mapunuan,” she said.
On July 27, 2014, POPCOM went to the different state hospitals in the region to look for the symbolic babies.
—PAMELA JAY F. ORIAS
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 28, 2016.