SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
A lawmaker is proposing the establishment of a national feeding program to alleviate hunger and malnutrition for children ages 13 and below.
Rep. Leni Gerona-Robredo (3rd District, Camarines Sur) filed House Bill 6062, otherwise known as the "National Food Security Act of 2015," to give teeth to current various government programs on hunger and malnutrition, which are not enough to address the problem.
"We cannot eradicate hunger without integrating anti-hunger measures with mechanisms that alleviate poverty," Gerona-Robredo said.
Under the bill, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Health (DOH), shall establish a nationwide database that identifies groups and/or individuals that have the least access to proper nutrition. The database shall identify the most vulnerable groups and/or individuals to be listed as beneficiaries.
The measure mandates the DOH to create a system of distribution through the Barangay Health Workers of food packets for those targeted by the system created in this Act, in consultation with DSWD. The food packets shall supplement the nutritional and dietary needs of children ages 0 - 1 year olds.
Gerona-Robredo said it should be the responsibility of the DSWD to ensure that children ages 2 - 5 receive the proper nutrients and diet while under their care.
The bill provides that beneficiaries shall be given meals that will meet their nutritional need and that the DSWD may consult with the National Nutrition Council (NNC) to meet the proper nutritional and dietary needs of the children.
Under this Act, beneficiaries are children 2 - 4 years old in the Supervised neighborhood Play (SNP) Area; 3 - 4 years old enrolled in Day Care Centers (DCC); and children 5 years old but not enrolled in the Department of Education (DepEd) preschool system but enrolled in DCCs.
The proposal tasks the DepEd to ensure that students from Kindergarten to Grade 4 are given the proper meals during school hours.
It also requires the government to ensure that 30 percent or more of the supplies needed to implement the National Feeding Program are procured from small-scale producers to give them constant revenue.