Hontiveros calls for ‘accelerated’ implementation of feeding programs
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday urged the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger to accelerate the implementation of national feeding programs in the country, saying these programs have already secured appropriations for 2021.
In a statement, Hontiveros, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, noted that the implementation of feeding programs would mitigate the effects of a hunger crisis.
“We already have existing policies addressing the nutrition situation of the country and the budget to be able to do so. What we need is a sense of urgency and to ensure that these programs are implemented efficiently,” she said.
She noted that efforts of the government should be intensified to avoid further problems such as malnutrition amid the increase in the prices of goods and unemployment rate.
Hontiveros specifically mentioned the need for urgent and efficient execution of supplementary and school-based feeding programs under Republic Act No. 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act (Nutritious Food for Every Filipino Children Act), which according to her had an allocated budget of more than P3.8 billion in 2021.
Even if there are no physical classes, the senator said food packs should still be delivered to children in their homes.
Hontiveros noted that last year, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was short of around 700,000 children in their 1.88 million target beneficiaries for the supplemental feeding program.
“During budget deliberations, we were able to boost the budget to help DSWD cover at least 25 percent of its shortage translating to an additional 185,000 children who can be accommodated in the program. Gamitin sana ng tama at mabilis ang pondo,” she said.
The senator also underscored the need for the Task Force to scale up its efforts to ensure that pregnant women and their babies will not suffer from hunger.
“We must protect our women and children at all cost because this also means securing our future,” she added.
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