DepEd targets over 40,000 undernourished pupils for feeding program

A January 16, 2013, press release from the Department of Education

The Department of Education’s school-based feeding program (SBFP) targets over 42,000 undernourished children to bring them back to health and improve their school performance.

Secretary of Education Armin A. Luistro said the feeding program, which is being implemented since October 2012 up to March 2013, provides nutritious meals to selected pupils suffering from severe malnutrition for 100 to 120 feeding days.

“Our specific target here are children who come to school on an empty stomach which results to absenteeism or poor school performance. This short-term hunger syndrome is observed among public elementary school children who do not eat breakfast or walk long hours to reach school,” Luistro said.

Initially called breakfast feeding program, it was renamed SBFP so as not to limit the feeding to breakfast only and so that schools can decide what time to conduct the feeding program that will best address the nutritional needs of learners. It targets to cover some 42,372 kindergarten to Grade 6 pupils from identified undernourished children based on the nutritional status report of August 31, 2012. It aims to rehabilitate at least 70% of the beneficiaries to normal nutritional status at the end of the feeding days.

“At the end of the day, we want these target school children to improve their classroom attendance to up to 100% by improving their health and nutritional status,” Luistro added.

The SBFP has developed standardized recipes using malunggay and a 20-day cycle menu utilizing locally-grown vegetables produced from school gardens.

Schools not identified as SBFP beneficiaries may collaborate with the local government unit, non-government organizations, parent-teachers associations and other community stakeholders for the implementation of similar feeding programs.