GOVT ALLOCATES P5.1 BILLION FOR SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAM
MANILA, SEPTEMBER 2, 2006 (STAR) By Paolo Romero - The government hopes to "defeat malnutrition and illiteracy in one blow" by raising the budget for its school feeding program for next year by 20 times, and the number of children-beneficiaries to more than one million.
"Government will provide more than a million grade schoolers a kilo of rice every school day next year in order to defeat malnutrition and illiteracy in one blow," Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. said. He said the program would benefit 1.152 million school children from only 202,582 this year.
Andaya also said the "redesigned" food-for-school scheme would have an extended program period from this year’s 120 days to 220 days in 2007.
"This is a program to arrest dropout rate in schools, and the dropping weight of our school children... while we put knowledge in their heads, we will also put food in their stomachs," he said.
The P5.1-billion budget for school feeding is part of the provisions for social services in the proposed P1.136-trillion national budget which Malacañang submitted to Congress last week for approval.
The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will implement the school feeding program.
For DepEd, the program — to cost roughly P4 billion — will involve giving one kilo of rice per school day for 220 days to each of the 900,000 pre-school and Grade 1 pupils.
In 2005, DepEd‘s budget for the program was only P200 million, benefiting close to 130,000 schoolchildren.
The DSWD, on the other hand, will be getting an increase of 985 percent on its allocation from P100 million in 2005 to P1.1 billion next year to feed 240,000 to 252,000 day care children aged 3-5 years old.
Andaya said the social welfare agency’s priority are Metro Manila and some fourth to sixth class municipalities. The DSWD program covered 74,261 children in 2005.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
© Copyright, 2006
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