Press Release
May 12, 2021


Two government agencies alone have almost P10 billion to put up "food pantries" that will serve meals to millions of children in schools and day care centers this year, Sen. Grace Poe said.

Poe said the number of beneficiaries of the child feeding programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Education (DepEd) could increase if the two agencies will learn from the success of community pantries and partner with nongovernment organizations.

"The funds can be leveraged to extend the reach of the feeding programs," Poe said.

"The community pantry experience shows that there is tremendous goodwill among our people just waiting to be tapped for a great cause, and addressing child hunger is definitely one," she said.

Poe explained that partnerships with church groups, civil society, business associations, local governments "will relieve teachers of non-teaching work, mobilize volunteers, and promote transparency in funds use."

Under the 2021 national budget, the DSWD has P3.83 billion for its Supplemental Feeding Program that will cater to close to two million children in day care and early child care community facilities.

The DepEd, on the other hand, has P6 billion for its School-Based Feeding Program, which has a goal this year of feeding 1,775,349 children with nutritional deficiencies.

Poe said the suspension of in-school learning during the pandemic is posing many challenges in program implementation.

But to their credit, the DepEd and DSWD were able to deliver food to the intended beneficiaries last year despite the multiple lockdowns, with DSWD reporting some 1.7 million beneficiaries served.

Poe urged the government to draw lessons from the community pantry phenomenon, "on how this admirable display of community solidarity can be harnessed for the welfare of children."

"If it takes a village to raise a child, the same village would act as one in protecting its most vulnerable during trying times," Poe said.

The senator stressed that the feeding programs must be up and running because "hunger is a lethal effect of the pandemic."

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