P15.8B earmarked for school feeding program
Nearly P16 billion has been set aside in next year’s national budget for child feeding programs, focused on improving the nutrition of young Filipino learners.
Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. on Thursday said that the government is set to spend P15.8 billion on school and daycare feeding programs to fight child hunger, citing the increasing rate of poor families suffering from lack of food due to soaring costs.
This was gathered from a Social Weather Stations survey in the second quarter of the year, which revealed that 10.4 percent of Filipino families experienced at least one involuntary hunger or being hungry and not having anything to eat.
According to Campos, who is vice chair of the House committee on appropriations, allocation for the Department of Education’s school-based feeding program (SBFP) has been raised to P11.7 billion in the 2024 general appropriations bill, while P4.1 billion was set aside for the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s supplementary feeding program (SFP).
“The combined P15.8-billion provision for the SBFP and the SFP next year is P5 billion or 46 percent greater than the P10.8 billion that the two feeding programs are getting this year (2023),” he said.
The lawmaker pointed out that the SBFP is projected to provide nutritionally balanced meals or food products for 220 days, plus milk for 55 days, to “severely wasted and wasted” or underweight children from Kinder to Grade 6.
SFP is expected to supply fortified meals to 2 million preschoolers in public day care centers sponsored by local government units and in supervised neighborhood play groups.
“We are counting on feeding programs to help alleviate child hunger, improve the nutrition of learners from food-insecure households and prevent pupils-at-risk from dropping out of school,” Campos said.
He added, “Many low-income families are getting distressed by the lack of food on the table, and children are bearing the brunt of the scarcity.”