Press Release
November 20, 2014


Almost two million children in public schools will benefit from the government's feeding program starting next school year, marking the first time the government shall extensively carry out the initiative--to include all "severely wasted" and "wasted" pupils nationwide.

Sen. Grace Poe, sponsor of the measure, said, "This is prioritizing the most neglected yet most important resources of our nation. I am hopeful that this initiative, carried out effectively, will pave the way for the institutionalization of a national feeding program that will allow our needy children to attain full development."

The government is earmarking a total of P3.2 billion for its feeding program under the proposed 2015 General Appropriations Act. This will cover exactly 1,918,464 students consisting of 533,425 severely wasted and 1,385,039 wasted children.

At the Senate plenary deliberations of the 2015 budget of the Department of Education (DepEd), Poe cited the necessity of monitoring the program's implementation, "I ask the DepEd to ensure that all necessary studies are undertaken to support the implementation and monitoring of the program. Napakahalaga nito upang matiyak na bituka ng mga bata - at hindi bulsa ng sinuman - ang makikinabang sa pondong ito."

Next school year, the DepEd is expected to feed the country's severely wasted and wasted children in public schools for 120 days-- the specific minimum duration necessary to attain program goals.

"Severely wasted" means having severe deficit in tissue and fat mass for a person's height, while the condition of the "wasted" is not severe, as explained by Senate finance committee chair Francis "Chiz" Escudero during the deliberations. "As amended by the Senate committee on finance, the budget will cover 100 percent of our severely wasted and wasted children," he said.

Poe acknowledged Escudero, Senate education committee chair Sen. Pia Cayetano, Sen. Ralph Recto and colleagues for the approval of the initiative.

As contained in her Senate Bill 79 or the Sustansya Para sa Batang Pilipino Act, Poe's foremost advocacy is the establishment of a comprehensive free lunch feeding program for public school children across the country, not only to address hunger and malnutrition but also to produce able Filipinos-- to sustain growth that benefits ordinary Filipinos.

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