P2-billion budget hike for feeding program sought

Marvin Sy - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Grace Poe has called for a P2-billion increase in the Department of Education (DepEd)’s budget for its school feeding program to address malnutrition among school children.

The department currently has a P3.9-billion budget for the program to feed 1.8 million public school students.

Under the proposed 2018 budget, the program will receive P5.3 billion.

Poe explained that the additional budget she is proposing would be used for the procurement of equipment necessary for the establishment of new and upgrading of existing school kitchens for storage facilities.

The initiative is important to ensure that 2.5 million “wasted and severely wasted” students or those with chronic malnutrition will be properly supported next year, she said. 

The feeding program targets wasted and severely wasted kinder to Grade 6 pupils nationwide for 120 feeding days.

At present, Poe noted that there is a huge backlog in food preparation and storage equipment in public schools “which in turn hamper the latter’s mission to provide education and nutrition.”
“We need the proper facilities to prepare nutritious food for millions of children who will benefit from the program,” she said.

“Part of our investment in the future of our children is to provide support for their nutritional requirements,” she added.

Poe has filed a bill that would institutionalize the school feeding program to ensure its sustainability.

Citing various research by local groups and international monitors, the lawmaker noted that hunger, malnutrition and stunting or children short for their age are still prevalent in the country.

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