1.8 M pupils undernourished — DepEd
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - August 1, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — More than 1.8 million students in public schools across the country are undernourished, according to the latest data released by the Department of Education (DepEd).

In a department order last week, Education Secretary Leonor Briones authorized the release of over P3.9 billion for the implementation of the school-based feeding program.

The program is expected to benefit 1,836,793 undernourished pupils from kindergarten to Grade 6, a figure based on the nutritional status data submitted by DepEd regional offices.

The number slightly increased from the 1,791,931 pupils covered by the program last year.

Undernourished children are those classified as either wasted or severely wasted as well as those who exhibit stunting based on their body mass indices.

Based on the data, Region 4-A still has the most number of undernourished school children, with 254,979, followed by Region 5, with 185,095, and Region 6 with 164,904.

Feeding activity started last month and will last for at least 120 days.

The program aims to contribute to the improvement of classroom attendance of target beneficiaries by 85 percent by encouraging the learners to go to school every day.

Aside from the feeding activity, the program also aims to ensure 100 percent deworming of target beneficiaries; conduct group daily handwashing and toothbrushing activities; promote health and nutritional awareness to the students; and encourage Gulayan sa Paaralan and vegetable gardening to augment the feeding program.

Public schools were reminded to locally source their ingredients, including from Gulayan sa Paaralan, home and communal gardens of beneficiaries and local farmers identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development as living in poverty.

Savings from the project may be used to add more beneficiaries in identified schools or for the school-wide feeding program in far-flung, mountainous or hard-to-reach schools.

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