MANILA, July 21 (PNA) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said on Monday that more than 1.7 million children in over 45,000 day care centers throughout the country were served by the agency’s Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) during the school year 2013-2014.
“About 1,755,034 children in 45,389 day care centers nationwide benefitted from the SFP for school year 2013-2014,” DSWD Secretary Corazon J. Soliman said.
She explained that in the 2013 DSWD budget, more than P2.9 billion was allocated in the program to cover all 17 regions of the country, including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
“With this program, we are helping solve hunger among young children,” the DSWD chief said.
According to her, SFP is part of the government’s efforts to capacitate the program beneficiaries to realize the value of feeding nutritious foods to children to enable them to perform better in school.
She said that as the parents are exposed to the meal preparation for the children as part of the program, it is also a way of instilling in them the willingness to change and improve their methods and attitudes toward their feeding manner or choices for their children who are studying in school.
“They learn to tell and convince themselves that they can be an instrument of change or betterment of their children’s performance in school. They know that when their children are well-fed and not hungry, the chances for them to get interested and focused in their lessons and get good grades increase too,” she added.
Moreover, the DSWD chief said that parents or guardians of the children where SFP is implemented are being exposed to Parents Effectiveness Seminar (PES) so that they can also set example to the children on choosing the right foods which are locally available and cheaper and rich in nutrients.
The Supplementary Feeding Program, started in 2011, is a major anti-hunger program of the DSWD that provides food supplementation in the form of hot meals served during snack and meal time to children enrolled in local government unit (LGU)-managed day care centers and supervised neighborhood play groups five days a week for 120 days.
The program beneficiaries are three- and four-year-old children, along with five-year-old children not included in the Department of Education (DepEd) pre-school curriculum but enrolled in day care centers.
The program was implemented in response to the 2006 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) which showed that 11 percent of Filipino families were “food poor” — meaning that their income was not sufficient to buy the food needed by family members for nutritional well-being and health. (PNA)