Starting June 3, a Department of Education (DepEd) monitoring team will begin making rounds of Region IV-A (Calabarzon) school in order to see if the educational institutions are conforming to a DepEd order which mandates that healthy foods and beverages are provided.
The monitoring will be conducted in a random manner. Calabarzon has 2,749 elementary, 702 junior high and 478 senior high schools.
According to Neil Evangelista, DepEd Region IV-A nutritionist and dietitian, the monitoring team would also check on the food safety protocols in school canteens. Violators will first be reprimanded and then will be dealt with administratively.
The canteen monitoring is being conducted in order to enforce Department Order 13 or the Policy and Guidelines on Healthy Food and Beverage Choices in Schools, which states that healthy food and beverage choices should be made available to learners and DepEd personnel.
To prepare schools to comply with the order in time for shcool opening, the Department of Health Region IV-A conducted workshops on proper nutrition and diet with school canteen chefs and managers.
Dr. MArilou Espiritu of DOh-Calabarzon said that school canteens perform “a significant part in the promotion of healthy eating habits in children.”
“As they say, you are what you eat and we better start the prevention, promotion early on to kids to make healthy food and beverage choices as their way of life, so they won’t be pre-disposed to non-communicable diseases,” she said.
The DepEd also reminded parents of students to provide their children with packed nutritious food for snacks and lunch.