Senator Grace Poe asked relevant agencies to strictly monitor the handling of milk supply used in government feeding programs to prevent spoilage.
“Pag-ingatan natin ang handling at delivery dahil madaling mapanis ang gatas,” Poe said during the budget deliberation of the Department of Education, which is implementing the school-based feeding program.
“Milk can really fill up the stomachs of our children.”
“Milk can really fill up the stomachs of our children. If they regularly drink milk, they no longer need many supplements. We have to make sure they get only the fresh packs,” the veteran legislator added.
The seasoned lawmaker is the main author of Republic Act 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain Para sa Batang Pilipino Act which implements the school-based feeding program (SBFP) for undernourished children from kindergarten to Grade 6.
The kids are given deworming tablets and fed at least one fortified meal and micronutrient doses in pills, capsules or syrups for at least 120 days in a school year.
For the school year 2023-2024, the DepEd has said it targets to cover around 1.6 million learners as beneficiaries.
For 2024, a budget of P11 billion has been proposed for the continued rollout of the program.
The lady senator urged the DepEd and other implementing agencies to boost their tie-up with local dairy farmers for the steady supply of milk to the children.
Based on data, 87.4 percent of the milk needs of the kids for the SBFP were procured from local sources in 2023, while the rest was sourced commercially.
“I hope the local sourcing will increase, if possible, to 100 percent so our farmers will not have to worry about finding a source where they can sell their milk.”
“I hope the local sourcing will increase, if possible, to 100 percent so our farmers will not have to worry about finding a source where they can sell their milk,” she said.
Poe stressed the new budget will assure the beneficiaries who are mostly wasted or
severely wasted will be served with fresh and nutritious meals.
She shared a story from a resident in Bicol who narrated about how his sibling transformed into a healthy kid because of the feeding program.
“May impact talaga ang program dahil diretsong napupunta sa mga bata ang gatas at pagkain,” Poe said.
“The school feeding program is an investment for the future, so we have to keep it organized,” she concluded.