Lost Youth Should Be Grieved
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The large percentage of stunted children in the Philippines is truly diconcerting. The human brain develops and grows dramatically during these years. Stunted growth therefore means that these children are unable to fully develop mentally. These children are more likely to find the early years of basic education extremely challenging and frustrating. This is one of the problems that truly highlight how grossly the government of the Philippines has misplaced its priorities. Instead of spending more than a hundred billion pesos in adding two years to basic education, with a much smaller amount, the government can address malnutrition. Two additional years of basic education will not do any good to one third of Filipino children if these stunted children are very likely not to even finish elementary school.
There are several petitions before the Supreme Court asking to suspend DepEd's K to 12. These petitions have been waiting for two years already. It is really disconcerting that all branches of the government in the Philippines seem deaf to the real emergency. There are more than three million children aged 0-5 years, who are not only malnourished but are already stunted. Stunted growth is irreversible. But it can be easily prevented. 24 billion pesos in vouchers that the government has to spend for its ill-planned K to 12 would have been more than enough to prevent 3 million children from being malnourished.