Fifty Years Ago

Fifty years ago, dietitians, faculty members and several senior students from the University of the Philippines and the Philippine General Hospital founded the Dietetic Association of the Philippines (DAP) with the aim of providing adequate nutrition for all by empowering nutritionist-dietitians in the country.

DAP’s first set of officers were: Presentacion Perez, president; Corazon de Leon, vice-president; Preciosa Florentin, secretary; Julieta Tadle, treasurer; Nora Daza; PRO; and Flora Domingo, Ninfa Saturnino and Fe Raymundo, directors.

With only a few members, many of whom are based in Metro Manila, the early days of the organization were devoted to recruitment of members. Problems faced by the dietitians such as the standardization of dietetic practice, salaries and curriculum were discussed. The DAP’s main objective was to support a bill in Congress that will regulate dietetic practice in the country.

On June 18, 1960, the officers of DAP succeeded in their effort to regulate dietetic practice after President Carlos P. Garcia enacted the dietetic bill, sponsored by Rep. Tecla San Andres Ziga and Sen. Pacita M. Gonzalez, into a law known as the Republic Act 2674.

Based on RA 2674, to become a qualified dietitian, the candidate has to pass a board examination. But prior to the examination, the candidate must have a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition (or equivalent) and must have completed a dietetic internship in an accredited hospital.

In 1961, the first board examination for dietitians was conducted. Gloria Camcam (chair), Teresita Binaday and Irma Florentin became the first members of the board of examiners.

In the mid 1960s, DAP became an official member of the International Committee of Dietetic Associations (ICDA). DAP sent an official delegation to the 5th International Congress of Dietetics (ICD) held in Washington D.C. a few years later which became the association’s first international participation. Since then, the DAP has participated in cross-county activities of the ICDA.

In 1974, the National Nutrition Council was created. The NNC expanded the employment opportunities for nutrition graduates not only in community nutrition but also in policy making body. The food and nutrition plan created by the NNC increased the demand for employment of nutritionists and dietitians in various sectors like agriculture, health, education, and social welfare.

In 1978, presidential decree 1286 was passed which superceded RA 2674. PD 1286 allowed all nutrition graduates to take the licensure examination and successful examinees were called Registered Nutritionist-Dieticians (RND).

During the same year, DAP was changed to Nutritionist-Dietician’s Association of the Philippines (NDAP). The Professional Regulation Commission recognized NDAP as the accredited professional organization for nutritionist-dietitians.

In 1988, Nieves Serra, former president of NDAP successfully bidded to host the 12th ICD in 1996 during the 10th ICD which was held in Paris, France.

In this same year, NDAP Foundation Inc. was established. The foundation aims to develop programs and support the private and public sector initiative to improve the nutritional status of Filipinos through research, education, public information and practice of the profession. To achieve these goals, the foundation raises funds, co-publishes the Journal of the NDAP, sponsors lectures, and supports research and live seminars. It also conducts review classes and initiates outreach programs.

In 1990 at the Asian Symposium on Rice and Nutrition, the then NDAP president Velona Corpus suggested to organize an association for Asian dietetic professionals. Dr. Chwang Leh-Chii, president of the Taiwan Dietetic Association accepted her idea and initiated the organizational groundwork.

When the Asian Federation of Dietetic Association was formally launched during the 3rd Asian Congress of Nutrition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia the Philippines was listed as a founding member.

In 1993 the reciprocity agreement between the PRC and the Commission on Dietetic Registration (credentialing arm of the American Dietetic Association) was signed. This allowed Filipino RNDs to take CDR examination while American RDs can take the PRC board exam.

On February 1996, NDAP hosted the 12th ICD held at the Philippine International Convention Center. This is considered to be one of the most important and successful events that the association hosted. Within the same year, NDAP was recognized as the most outstanding accredited professional organization by the PRC because of its serious effort to uplift the nutritionist-dietitian standards in the country.

In 2005, NDAP celebrated its golden anniversary. In April 2006 , it successfully hosted the 4th Asian Congress of Dietetics at the Philippine International Convention Center. Almost a thousand delegates participated from around Southeast Asia, Japan, India, USA, Africa, Middle East, Europe, and Australia. The theme was "Nutrition and Dietetics in a Borderless Society".

Today, NDAP has 30 chapters in various provinces of the country and is continuing to serve the dietetic profession to the fullest.

NDAP’s theme Servire Professionis summa — to serve the profession to the fullest — continues to inspire and guide its activities until today.