September 24, 2011
ANGARA URGES DEPED TO SCALE UP FEEDING PROGRAM
Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged Secretary Armin Luistro to scale up the Department of Education's (DepEd) feeding program in public schools, for which only P77 million has been allotted out of the agency's proposed P238.8 billion budget for 2012.
According to Luistro, DepEd will only be able to provide food to 45,000 kids, when in fact 2 million kids around the country go to school hungry every day. Due to budgetary constraints, only 986 schools classified with the most wasted and severely wasted students are able to receive allocation for the said program.
"Nutrition is critical in the early years," explained Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture. "The universal Kindergarten program will bring even the five-year olds to school, but that's not enough. Only school feeding programs have been shown to keep them both physically fit and well nourished to stay in school at least until Grade 3."
He stressed, "We cannot overlook the feeding programs if we are serious about improving our cohort survival rates and arrest the worsening drop out cases in our schools. Thirty seven percent of our students are underweight, and for our educational reform to matter, we need to also take the nourishment of students seriously."
He told Luistro to consolidate the DepEd's efforts with the DSWD's. "Why are our efforts segregated? DepEd has only P77 Million, while the DSWD has P2.8 Billion for feeding. Perhaps both Departments can work together to enhance our school feeding programs."
Angara pioneered the School Feeding Program (SFP) in public elementary schools around the country in 2003. He continues his advocacy today through the "Oh My Gulay!" campaign, which aims to fight malnutrition by having school-age children grow and eat their own vegetables in school and at home.
It has since attracted the support of big corporations such as Banco De Oro Foundation, Asian Terminals Inc., Sunwest Care Foundation, Infant Pediatrics and Nutrition Association of the Philippines (IPNAP) and Aboitiz Foundation, which have formalized their sponsorship of a total of 40 schools public elementary schools in the country.
See: "OH MY GULAY" JUMPSTARTS VEGGIE GARDENING IN 40 SCHOOLS http://www.edangara.com/?q=ohmygulay-jumpstarts-veggie-gardening-school
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