In a bid to ensure continued assistance to communities and families from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis in the province, the Department of Science and Technology Region I (DOST-I), through its Provincial Science and Technology Center-Ilocos Norte (PSTC-IN), donated S&T developed products to the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) last 19 August 2021.
The DOST-I donated 2,500 kilos of Iron Fortified Rice (IFR) and 1,000 pieces of Enhanced Nutribun to help the province provide access to basic needs such as food and healthcare for our kailians.
The IFR was developed by the DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) to help primarily address Iron Deficiency Anemia in the Philippines.
The Enhanced Nutribuns were given to the PGIN through its Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) for frontliners assigned in the high-risk areas. It is one of the DOST-FNRI’s answers to the call of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) through Memorandum Circular No. 12 Series of 2020, or the guidelines in the implementation of the supplementary feeding program during community quarantine or other similar emergencies.
Dr. Armando Q. Ganal, DOST-I regional director, instructed Provincial Director Benjamin S. Mercado Jr. to immediately facilitate the turnover of donations to the PGIN. “We want to help our kailians and show our support to PGIN by simply providing what our agency already has. Our science and technology-based products are easy to prepare, and most of all, preservative-free and nutritious," Mercado said.
Through DOST-assisted micro, small and medium enterprises and technology adopters in Region I, Nutridense Food Manufacturing Corporation (IFR adopter) in Santa Barbara Pangasinan, and Bakers PH (Enhanced Nutribun Adopter) in Laoag, the agency was able to deliver the donations within the given timeline. "We would like also to encourage our kailians to eat healthy while on lockdown, that is why we would like to help in the best way we can," Mercado added.
Meanwhile, Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew J. Marcos Manotoc and Corazon Lilian C. Rin, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer, extended their gratitude to the agency.
The Department of Health (DOH) recently placed Ilocos Norte under Alert Level 4 or High-Risk Epidemic Classification 4, currently the highest alert classification system for COVID-19 in the country. The municipalities under this classification are urged to implement localized lockdowns, thus, suspending the operations of business establishments under the non-essential category and affecting the livelihood of families.
At present, 21 out of 23 component cities and municipalities in Ilocos Norte are under localized lockdown. DOST is set to donate more S&T-based emergency food packs in the coming days. (By Kent J. Ramil, Project Assistant II, DOST PSTC-IN)