INDIGENOUS food will soon be available in Cordillera school canteens as the region implements the Department of Education’s (DepEd’s) order that prohibits selling of unhealthy food.
Boiled camote or sweet potato, along with boiled yam, “tugue”, “aba” “tambutambung,” “tinuduk,” “patupat,” boiled corn, rice cake and other native snack food items which are made of locally produced root crops and glutinous rice, as well as serving of “tanglad” juice with honey, will soon be the favored canteen food for schoolchildren.
This is in line with the DepEd-Cordillera’s implementation of the department order 13 issued on March mandating all schools in the country to prohibit the selling and serving of unhealthy food or what is commonly called “junk food” and energy drinks and soft drinks in their cafeterias.
DepEd-Cordillera Public Affairs Officer Georaloy Palao-ay said as part of the National Nutrition Month celebration, they are initiating the promotion and serving of indigenous food in public schools to make children healthier and imbibe in them the importance of eating healthy food.
The food items are among the commonly served local food during meetings and even on occasions and in native ritual and the “cañao.”
To further strengthen the adoption of the practice of serving indigenous food, DepEd-Cordillera has also included in the lessons of the students the information on locally produced food to inculcate in them the importance of a healthy diet.
Most public schools in the region started their classes on June 5 and Palao-ay said they are happy to report a high compliance rate with the department’s order in Baguio City.
“Most of the schools within Baguio City are now complying, although there are still those in transition to switching to indigenous foods,” Palao-ay said.
Palao-ay added they are increasing the awareness campaign on the existence of the department order to encourage the other schools and urged schools to invite health personnel from the division office and from rural health units to lecture on the DepEd’s policy and talk about the importance of eating healthy food, which are more affordable and accessible, being sold at low prices in all market places in the Cordillera.
Palao-ay, however, said while they can control the school canteens, the challenge is how to encourage establishments within the 100 meter radius of the schools to stop selling junk food.
“We seek help from local government units to help strengthen the policy and to possibly pass ordinances or get a collaborative effort from the establishments,” Palao-ay added. (PNA)