Noodle scam rocks DepEd’s feeding program

PHILIPPINES NEWS SERVICE — THE noodles purchased by the Department of Education (DepEd) for its school feeding program were allegedly overpriced and had no nutritional value contrary to the claim.

In a report aired over ABS-CBN, it was alleged that the 15 million packs of noodles distributed to some 800,000 preschoolers and Grade I pupils nationwide were said to be overpriced by more than 100%.

The report said the DepEd noodles were valued at P18 per pack as against a commercial pack of noodles that is being sold at P4 or P6 per pack in supermarkets or in local stores.

The noodles, intended for 2008 DepEd school feeding program, were supplied by the winning bidder, identified as Jebervs Manufacturing Corporation, which reportedly also won the bidding for 2009 program.

Moreover, the nutritional content of the DepEd noodles which were said to contain fresh egg was allegedly a false claim.

The Conwell Marketing Incorporated, a losing bidder for DepEd’s school feeding program that took the initiative to submit the said noodles for laboratory test, said the claim is false since the noodles were found to be all flour and have no nutritional content including the alleged egg content.

Dr. Thelma Navarres, DepEd head of Food and Nutrition Center, maintained that the noodles were nutritious and fortified with vitamins and the fresh egg has been pre-mixed contrary to the impression that the pack of noodles contains one fresh egg.

Navarres said this was actually the impression of nutritionists at DepEd regional offices during the implementation of the feeding program but were enlightened when explained to them that the eggs have been premixed and the noodles contain more vitamins, iron and minerals including “malungay” than the commercial noodles.

Education Undersecretary for Finance Teodosio Sangil Jr., for his part, denied that the noodles were overpriced and the same have actually been purchased pursuant to the specification and certification of Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD).

He claimed that the value of the said noodles was higher than the commercial ones since it contain more nutritional contents and its net weight was double plus the fact that the cost of freight has been added since the same was intended for students in Mindanao region.

Sangil also claim that the procurement of noodles was in accordance with Republic Act 9184, also known as the “Government Procurement Act,” and the delivery of noodles has not yet been made since they are still waiting for the go signal or the notice to proceed with the delivery of noodles.

Sangil also threatened to file libel charges against those behind what he described as malicious attempt to malign and discredit the DepEd and the government school feeding program.