GMA  LAUNCHES  FOOD-FOR-SCHOOL  PROGRAM  IN  RIZAL

CAINTA, RIZAL,  November 9, 2004
(OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY, MALACANANG)
A total of 50,000 pre-selected Grades 1 and 2 pupils from the National Capital Region (NCR) and in Regions III and IV-A are expected to benefit from the food-for-school (FFS) program that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo launched today in Barangay San Roque here.

The President led the ceremonial distribution of 1 kilo of rice to the recipients during the formal launching this morning of the FFS program at the Cainta Elementary School Gymnasium. The ration will be given on a daily basis.

Some 1,709 Grades 1 and 2 pupils in Cainta were identified as beneficiaries of the rice assistance program starting today until the end of the school year on March 25, 2005.

The program is expected to arrest the increasing cases of malnutrition and school dropouts in elementary, particularly in Grades 1 and 2.

According to Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), 105 schools in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces in Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal have been chosen by the government as beneficiaries of the FFS program.

"Today is the launching of food-for-school program. This is a government measure to ensure that the underprivileged family will be lifted from the hard times that they might be experiencing," Soliman said.

Soliman told President Macapagal-Arroyo that the rice being distributed is "fortified" and will provide the nutrition that every child would need.

She added that the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) would also provide weighing scales to these schools to monitor if Grades 1 and 2 pupils are getting the right nutrition from the program.

The DSWD explained that the participating schools were chosen based on their high poverty incidence, high prevalence of under-nutrition among school children, and high dropout rates in Grades 1 and 2.

Grade 1 pupil Nokole Garcia and Parents Teachers Community Association (PTCA) president Danilo San Juan, who represented the beneficiaries, thanked the President for bringing the FFS program to their community.

Targetted by the FFS program are the 8,100 pupils in Manila, 8,200 in Quezon City, 8,200 in Caloocan City, 8,500 in Bulacan, 8,500 in Rizal and 8,500 in Cavite.

Assisting President Macapagal-Arroyo in the ceremony were Soliman, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, Education Secretary Florencio Abad, Senator Ralph Recto, Rizal Governor Casimiro Ynarez, Cainta Mayor Ramon Ilagan, and Rizal 1st District Representative John Duavit.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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