Press Release
April 26, 2016


ILOCOS SUR--Independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe's public school feeding program will save Filipinos families--many of them poor--at least P65.9 billion a year in lunch expense.

Poe has vowed to institutionalize the government's free lunch program, if she wins, and to expand its coverage to all students in public daycare and elementary schools.

"Pagkaupo na pagkaupo ko, sisiguraduhin ko na libre na ang pananghalian sa lahat ng public elementary schools at day care centers. At least makakatipid ang mga magulang kahit na P22 a day bawat isang bata. So kung ang anak mo ay tatlo, e 'di lagpas P66 pa rin ang matitipid mo, magagamit mo sa [iba pang] bagay araw-araw," Poe said in a speech at the Vigan Convention Center in Ilocos Sur.

Without the burden of providing lunch, households with one child in elementary school will save P4,422 per year.

There are 14,894,646 children enrolled in public elementary schools nationwide for schoolyear 2015-2016, according to the Department of Education (DepEd). With 201 school days, the total savings would amount to P65,864,124,612 annually.

Poe said her economic advisers have estimated that the government would spend about P30-40 billion to fund her feeding program, but the senator maintained that the amount was a much-needed investment in the Filipino youth.

"Marami tayong mga bata na nagkakasakit, nag-a-absent sa paaralan hindi dahil sa may bayad sa mga public school, kung hindi marami sa kanila ay nagugutom, walang pambili ng pagkain, minsan tumitigil na lang ng pag-aaral o kaya pumapasok nang gutom, hindi natututo," Poe said. "Kaya nga 'yung pinakamalapit sa aking puso na programa ay nais kong i-implementa."

If she becomes president, the senator said she would issue an executive order to ensure that the public school feeding program she has been advocating will be funded and implemented nationwide.

The DepEd's School-Based Feeding Program covers only wasted and severely wasted children over a period of 120 days. Last school year, there were 532,752 severely wasted and 627,403 wasted students from Kindergarten to Grade 6.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, a family of five needed at least P6,365 every month to meet the family's basic food needs. This translates to P205 per day for five people or P41 per person.

Still, some 12 million Filipinos cannot afford to meet the daily food requirement.

Poe campaigned in Iloco Sur and Ilocos Norte Tuesday morning. She proceeded to Isabela in the afternoon for a rally with running mate Sen. Francis Escudero and the senatorial bets of their Partido Galing at Puso.

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