ANAKALUSUGAN lauds P3.7 billion budget for DSWD to feed 1.8 million children
ANAKALUSUGAN Party-list Representative Ray Florence Reyes commends the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for earmarking a 3.7-billion-peso budget for the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) feeding program for children.
“A lot more is required, but this is a good start. Immediately, we need to respond to the increase in cases of wasting ang stunting in children under five years old caused by the pandemic,” Rep. Reyes stated.
“We cannot afford the social costs of standing idly by and missing on the opportunities to decisively respond to this looming threat,” he added.
The allotment is for the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) of DSWD which provides hot meals and milk to children enrolled in child development centers (day care centers) managed by the local government units and supervised neighborhood play. It is estimated to cater to 1.8 million children, in addition to around 157,968 malnourished youngsters.
Pre-pandemic, data from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) showed that for the past 30 years no improvement was seen in addressing undernutrition. The country also ranked 5th among countries in East Asia and the Pacific Region with the highest number of stunting. Further, 1 in 3 Pinoy children below 5 years old are stunted.
Various studies on the impact of the pandemic on child’s health worldwide has shown that it created grave risks to the nutritional status and survival of young children. In addition, an expected increase is projected in terms of child malnutrition and wasting.
“Malnutrition is a direct and natural consequence of this pandemic, and this allocation is proof that the government recognizes the immeasurable ramifications of wasting and stunting on this country’s future productivity,” Rep. Reyes said.