MANILA, Philippines?The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Thursday launched its Supplemental Feeding Program targeting 1.5 million children in day-care centers.
Under the program aimed at addressing malnutrition, the children are to be fed a hot meal daily with rice purchased from the National Food Authority (NFA).
About 70 children between the ages of three and five were served chicken afritada with rice at Thursday?s launch at Barangay 721 Day-care Center on Leveriza Street in Manila.
For some of the children, their meal at the day-care center will be their best and most nutritious for the day. DSWD officials said nutritionists would plan the meals of meat and vegetables to ensure a good balance.
Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said the program would provide food to day-care children for the next three months.
The project will also provide opportunities to children, caregivers and parents to learn about food and nutrition, the DSWD said.
The hot meals will be served during the class break five days a week starting this month until December.
?The parents will manage the feeding program based on a prepared meal cycle using available indigenous food materials,? Soliman said.
The children will be weighed every month during the program to determine improvement in their nutritional status.
The government will spend P1.2 million for the feeding program.
There are 49,531 day-care centers nationwide, with some 1,567,650 children enrolled.
The rice intended for the program will come from the surplus rice imported by the government through the NFA in the past few years.
It is not part of the batch that rotted due to long storage in the warehouses, DSWD and NFA officials said.
They also said freight and cargo company AIR21 had agreed to facilitate the delivery of 100 sacks of rice to be used for the feeding program from the DSWD-National Resource Operations Center to the DSWD-National Capital Region.
According to an early advisory to reporters, President Benigno Aquino III was to have attended the program launch. But he was a no-show.
His spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda, said the President had not confirmed attendance at the launch.
?It was a late invitation so there was nothing to cancel because he did not confirm he would be attending,? Lacierda told reporters.
He said in reply to a question that Mr. Aquino had private meetings Thursday and had been studying for the past two days the Incident Investigation Review Committee?s report on the Aug. 23 hostage crisis vis-à-vis the result of the review made by a Palace legal team. With a report from Christine O. Avendaño