Press Release
November 18, 2020


Sen. Grace Poe urged the government to set its sights on the implementation of the Supplemental Feeding Program as hunger stalks millions of children due to the effects of the recent typhoons and the COVID-19 pandemic.

On her questioning during Tuesday's plenary deliberation of the proposed 2021 budget for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), it was revealed that at least P2.2 billion or 60 percent of the budget allocated for the program for this year has yet to be spent.

"Since we don't have the regular academic schedule, meaning, physical presence in schools, which is actually the venue where we are able to extend the supplemental feeding program to the children, I'd like to know more or less what hybrid situation the DSWD has come up with in order to facilitate the distribution of the food to the children," Poe asked.

"Okay lang naman 'yun kung papaano maipapamahagi basta magamit ang pera at makarating ang pagkain sa mga bata kasi pwede naman talaga sa mga evacuation center at sa iba't ibang mga tanggapan kung doon makukuha ang pagkain," she explained.

The Supplementary Feeding Program is one of the components of Republic Act 11037 or Masustansyang Pagkain Para sa Batang Pilipino Act authored by Poe.

Implemented by the DSWD, the feeding program provides undernourished children aged three to five years old in day care centers with one fortified meal for not less than 120 days in a year.

Children-beneficiaries used to receive food rations in day care centers in the past years. But because of the pandemic and the recent calamities, the food packs were also delivered to evacuation centers or directly to the homes of the kids with the help of the local government units.

During the deliberation, Poe said the government should also maximize the use of ICT solutions into its programs to make the distribution of cash aid to the people more efficient and faster.

The use of mobile wallets, PayMaya, StarPay and the like will help give the beneficiaries ease in receiving the cash assistance, instead of making them wait in long lines, Poe also said.

Poe said that with the available funds, handing out the food ration to the children as mandated by law, and the cash aid to the families affected by the pandemic and the recent typhoons should be systematic and fast, especially in times of urgent need.

Aside from the Supplementary Feeding Program, the two other components of RA 11037 are the School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP) and the Milk Feeding Program.

Carried out by the Department of Education, the SBFP provides undernourished children from Kindergarten to Grade 6 with at least one fortified meal for not less than 120 days in a year.

The Milk Feeding Program, meanwhile, gives fortified meals and cycle menu including fresh milk and fresh milk-based food products to address undernutrition among Filipino children. It is being implemented by the Department of Agriculture, Philippine Carabao Center and the Cooperative Development Agency.

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