Press Release
November 2, 2006


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today lamented that the government's so-called School Feeding Program merely involves giving a kilo of rice per pre-school and grade school pupil, and is not a 'genuine' feeding program where school children are given nutritionally balanced food for a recommended period.

"This so-called 'school feeding program' is a pure rice import scheme misusing the name of school children to disguise what is otherwise plain rice importation and, perhaps, to enrich some favored rice traders," Angara lamented.

"I am not against the distribution of rice among the poor. However, the problem of child malnutrition is entirely different from the problem of poverty. If one bureaucracy is going to address the churning stomachs of our young, then, to alleviate pangs of poverty among ordinary Filipinos must be left into the hands of another bureaucracy," Angara continued.

Angara noted the National Food Authority's announcement that the country had bought one-billion worth of rice and will be spending another P2 billion for rice importation next year.

"We know that we are always short of rice production. But this rice hand-out will require the import of almost 750,000 metric tons of rice every year, on top of the 1.8 million-ton annual rice import valued at $550 million," Angara explained.

"What has been written in the Supplemental Budget and now in the 2007 National Budget are not the same when it comes to implementation."

"A genuine school feeding program is that which entails on-sight feeding, directly serving children in schools. It is done to address a specific problem - malnutrition. It is not exclusively rice-feeding because children need all the nutrients they can get from foods rich in carbohydrates, protein and calcium in order to grow strong and healthy. A genuine school feeding program is that which makes nutritious foods ready to be eaten and absorbed by the kids," he continued.

Angara has been calling for an honest-to-goodness school feeding program where school children are given eggs, noodles and milk in their schools. Then, the children's improvements in height and weight, as well as attendance and academic performance, are recorded during and after the school feeding program. His Office has undertaken such a program in 2003.

To date, over 24,000 students have become recipients of the Angara School Feeding Program.

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