Poe urges Senate: Prioritize bill on school-based feeding program
Senator Grace Poe made another push on Tuesday for the passage of a bill establishing a national school-based feeding program as she urged the Senate to include the measure in its priority bills that it wants to approve as soon as possible.
“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,” she said in a statement.
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, made the call following a survey which showed that 34 percent or an estimated 7.7 million Filipino families considered themselves “food-poor.”
The senator was referring to the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted during the last quarter of 2016 and released on January 16. The poll found that 34 percent of respondents 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 four-percentage increase, the survey said, 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.
Poe noted that it was the first time that 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,” she said.
The bill has already been endorsed for plenary consideration by Senator Benigno “Bam” Aquino III, its principal author and chairman of the Senate education, arts and culture committee. 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. IDL/rga
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