Press Release
July 13, 2006


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today initiated a school feeding and medical mission program, beginning in Metro Manila, in response to the high rate of malnutrition among Filipino schoolchildren.

"Many of our children are underweight, thin, and weak, especially pre-schoolers and those aged six to 10. We are literally raising a generation of stunted Filipinos. Short, underweight and unable to stand the rigors of the classroom," said Angara, who has time and again called for an effective child nutrition program.

Angara, who authored the Child Nutrition Act, suggested a 100-million-peso budget allocation to institutionalize School Feeding Program that could provide public elementary schools with fresh milk, vitamin supplements, fortified snacks and foods high in carbohydrates.

"Although there are current school feeding programs administered by DepEd, these programs rely heavily on allocations from budgets of senators or congressmen, or even donations from private individuals and corporations. Government itself must make our children's nutrition its priority," Angara said, noting that July is Nutrition Month.

Angara, who recently exposed an anomaly in Department of Education's rice distribution in May, noted that 26 out of 100 primary school-age children were underweight based from the 2003 nutrition survey conducted by Food and Nutrition Research Institute of Department of Science and Technology.

Angara said that malnutrition cuts across all island groupings particularly Western and Eastern Visayas, Southern and Central Mindanao, Bicol Region and even parts of the National Capital Region.

He also said that 30 percent of children below five years old suffer from stunting or being too short for their age. He also said that six percent has been classified as dangerously thin.

Angara further suggested an incentive system to local dairy cooperatives and private agricultural companies who will donate food, milk, and juices, to public elementary schools, where about 200 percent of the donated product's value shall be deducted from the company's gross income.

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