Press Release
August 9, 2006


In evaluating the administrations proposed 2006 supplementary budget, Senator Edgardo J. Angara today suggested that the 1.6 billion-peso budget allocation for the countrys school feeding program be used exclusively for children and not as a family rice subsidy.

He also noted that the distribution of one-kilo of rice sounded like a state handout and not a proper school feeding program.

Angara also noted that giving one-kilo of rice is not actually targeting child malnutrition.

We are not even sure that when the child brings it home, he will even partake of that one kilo of rice. So, I thought theres something seriously wrong with this concept. As I understand it, school feeding is really in the school, on site, for a certain period during the school calendar, said Angara, who has been undertaking a pilot school feeding program for the past 5 years.

The issue of poverty and hunger is a separate matter. If you want to provide a rice subsidy program, by all means, do it. But, let us not mix it to a specific problem. We must first target specific problems instead of trying to take issues in one broad sweep, which is ineffective and unproductive, he continued.

Angara explained that the 46-billion peso budget to supplement this years national budget will be used to fund governments specific projects, including the school feeding program.

He also revealed that 500 million of this supplementary budget will be allocated for the evacuation of Filipinos in war-torn Lebanon.

Because of the delayed passage of the 2006 budget, we are not able to distribute necessary funds to education sector, for instance. The number of recruited teachers and key employees were confined due to DepEds limited funds, Angara said.

In this country, the national budget is regarded almost like an ordinary legislation. However, budget is very important because it spells out the activities of the country. It is very important for planning, for controlling, and for preventing corruption in government, he continued.

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