Press Release
January 17, 2017


Sen. Grace Poe today said the Senate should make an important step in pushing for the speedy passage of a measure establishing a national school-based feeding program in the light of a survey showing 34 percent or an estimated 7.7 million Filipino families considered themselves "food-poor."

Poe, co-sponsor of Senate Bill (SB) No. 1297 or An Act Creating a National School Feeding Program to Combat Hunger and Undernutrition for all Basic Education Students, said the chamber should include the legislation as one of its priorities following a recently held caucus among senators.

"Now that Congress has resumed session, the school-based feeding program should be included in the Senate's priority bills that it wants to be passed as soon as possible. Let us allow the bill to have a smooth sailing in the legislature," Poe said.

The Fourth Quarter 2016 Social Weather Survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) found that 34 percent of respondents or an estimated 7.7 million families considered the type of food they eat as poor, up four points from third quarter's 30 percent or an estimated 6.7 million families.

The survey released on Jan. 16 also revealed that the four-percentage increase was due to increments in Metro Manila (20 percent to 23 percent), "Balance Luzon" (24 percent to 32 percent), and the Visayas (36 percent to 43 percent). Only Mindanao saw a four-point drop from 41 percent to 37 percent.

It was the first time that the self-rated food poverty saw an increase in the past six consecutive quarters since June 2015, but it brought the full-year self-rated food poverty rate to 32 percent, down three points from 35 percent in 2015.

"The results of the survey send signals that policies on bringing food to the table--especially the children--are much needed. We should give our children the proper support and protection to empower them to become productive," said Poe.

Sen. Benigno "Bam" Aquino III, chairman of the Senate education, arts and culture committee, and principal sponsor of SB 1297, has sponsored the measure last December. Poe's SB 160 or the Libreng Pananghalian sa Pampublikong Paaralan was included in the consolidated measure.

Poe has been pushing for the institutionalization of an in-school free feeding program as her pet measure since she ran for the Senate in 2013, believing that an investment in the Filipino children's health and nutrition is an investment in the future of the country.

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