Press Release
March 22, 2020


Sen. Grace Poe is urging the Department of Education (DepEd) to tap the barangays for the continuation of its school-based feeding program to ensure that students can still access free nutritious meals in their homes during the monthlong Luzon-wide expanded quarantine.

"In light of this unprecedented public health crisis that forced all public schools to close, it is crucial that the government is still able to feed millions of students with healthy food while it implements the enforced community quarantine throughout Luzon," said Poe.

In this way, poor households will be assured of their children's health and have one fewer thing to worry about as they find ways to secure their essential needs amid the outbreak, she said.

Poe championed Republic Act No. 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain Para sa Batang Pilipino Act, which institutionalized a national feeding program for about 12 million public elementary school students and children in daycare centers to address hunger and malnutrition in the country.

One of its three components is the school-based feeding program implemented by the DepEd, which ensures undernourished children from kindergarten to Grade 6 at least one fortified meal for a minimum of 120 days in a year.

Poe pointed out that the halted feeding program for students was among the unexpected consequences of public schools shuttering and the school year abruptly ending to give way to the monthlong quarantine to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Poe emphasized that this can still be continued by the DepEd with the help of the barangays. "Higit kailanman, ngayon ang panahon na dapat pagtuunan ng pansin ang tamang pag-aaruga sa mga bata upang matiyak ang kanilang maayos na kalusugan. Makakamit ito kung masisiguro natin na mabibigyan pa rin sila ng masustansiyang pagkain habang umiiral ang enhanced community quarantine," she said.

"Sa naputol na pormal na edukasyon ng mga bata, kailangan magkaroon ng paraan upang matugunan pa rin ang kanilang pangangailangang nutrisyon. Iparamdan natin sa mga bata na apektado rin ng krisis na ito ang gobyernong nagpapahalaga ng kanilang kalusugan," added Poe.

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