Senator Grace Poe is hopeful that children as young as 2 years old will soon get free meals with her proposal to raise the appropriations for the Supplementary Feeding Program in the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020.

The increase in the budget of the program from P3.6 billion to P6.6 billion was one of Poe’s amendments that were approved during deliberations by the Senate.

A bicameral panel composed of senators and congressmen will review the bill for a final version that will be ratified by Congress and sent to the President for signature.

“Nutrition during pre-school years is important for kids’ growth and learning.”

“Nutrition during pre-school years is important for kids’ growth and learning, and to provide energy for high activity levels. This budget increase is about putting children on the right path to a healthy start in life,” the veteran legislator said.

According to the seasoned lawmaker, the budget increase will expand the program to include 2 year old kids. It currently covers 3 to 5 year old children.

“The budget increase will expand the program to include two-year-old kids.”

“Dalawang taon ang edad na kadalasan ay purong solid food na ang kinakain ng mga bata. Pero hirap ang ibang pamilya na maglagay ng pagkain sa mesa,” the lady senator said.

“Sa murang edad, bigyan na natin sila ng masustansyang pagkain. Ang malusog na simula ay magiging yaman ng ating bansa,” she stressed.

The Supplementary Feeding Program is one of the components of Republic Act No. 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain Para sa Batang Pilpino Act, which Poe authored.

It provides undernourished children from three to five years of age in day care centers with one fortified meal for not less than 120 days in a year. This is being implemented by government units and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The second component, School-Based Feeding Program, provides undernourished children from Kindergarten to Grade 6 with at least one fortified meal for not less than 120 days in a year. This is being carried out by the Department of Education.

The third component, Milk Feeding Program, gives fortified meals and cycle menu including fresh milk and fresh milk-based food products. It is being implemented by the Department of Agriculture, Philippine Carabao Center and the Cooperative Development Agency.

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