The government is set to spend another P15.8 billion to fight child hunger with school and daycare feeding programs, as more poverty-stricken families are being driven to deprivation by soaring food prices, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr., vice chairperson of the House committee on appropriations, said.
“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. Many low-income families are getting distressed by the lack of food on the table, and children are bearing the brunt of the scarcity,” Campos said in a statement in relation to the start of the National Children’s Month.
November of every year is National Children’s Month, which marks the anniversary of the 1989 adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations General Assembly.
Campos said the allocation for the School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP) of the Department of Education has been increased to P11.7 billion in the 2024 national budget.
The sum for the SBFP is on top of the P4.1B for the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Deve-lopment, according to Campos.
“The combined P15.8B provision for the SBFP and the SFP next year is P5B (or 46 percent) greater than the P10.8B that the two feeding programs are getting this year,” Campos said.
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” children from kindergarten to grade 6.
“Wasted” children are those who are underweight for their age.
Meanwhile, the SFP is expected to supply fortified meals to two million preschoolers in public daycares sponsored by local government units, and in supervised neighborhood play groups.
Some 10.4 percent of Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger – or being hungry and not having anything to eat – at least once in the second quarter of 2023, according to a previous survey by the Social Weather Stations. – Press release