/ 24 July 2021

THE DEPARTMENT of Education will expand its school-based feeding program to cover 3.1 million learners in the upcoming school year.

For School Year 2020-2021, the SBFP surpassed its 1.7 million target beneficiaries, posting a 183.46 percent achievement rate for the milk component and 198.15 percent for the nutritious food products component.

“In spite of the school closure due to pandemic, the Department will continue our school-based feeding program to ensure the improvement in nutritional status and to reduce micronutrient deficiencies for the enhancement of school participation and learning outcomes of our learners,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said.

The Bureau of Learner Support Services-School Health Division aims to provide fresh milk and nutritious food to 3,159,118 learners in 34,375 public schools nationwide.

“For 2021-2022, we will be targeting the primary and secondary beneficiaries. We are recommending to expand the supply of sterilized milk to identified far-flung areas and our products for Muslim learners should get Halal certification,” School Health Division Chief Dr. Maria Corazon Dumlao said.

The primary beneficiaries of the feeding program are incoming kindergarten learners and grades one to six pupils who fall under the wasted and severely wasted category. Meanwhile, secondary beneficiaries are the learners in Last Mile Schools with 100 enrollees and below, pupils-at-risk-of dropping out, indigenous people learners, those coming from indigent families, and stunted learners.

Bureau of Learner Support Services Director Lope Santos III said that the DepEd will closely coordinate with the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Social Welfare and Development, the Philippine Carabao Center and National Dairy Authority, as well as the Food and Nutrition Research Institute to tap the local producers, manufacturers, cooperatives and technology adopters to revitalize agiculture and local industry.

“Naghahanap tayo ng local fresh fruits o alternatibo dito para maisama natin sa school-based feeding program. Nag-request na rin tayo sa FNRI if they can help in the processing of calamansi or dalandan or other local fruit juices suitable for our children. Para mas makinabang ‘yong mga Filipino farmers rather than imported fruits ang ating binibili,” Santos said.

“If our needs for school-based feeding program can be sourced from our local producers, food processors and manufacturers, makakatulong tayo sa pag-unlad ng ating agrikultura at industriya,” he added.

The school-based feeding program complies with Republic Act 11037, otherwise known as the “Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act,” signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 20, 2018.

It aims to address hunger, improve school performance and learning outcomes, and increase the cognitive function and academic performance of learners.