THERE’S no stopping the food-coupons program of the Arroyo government.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development announced it would launch its supplemental feeding program called the “Food for Work and Food for School” this November.
The program, which stands to benefit 100,000 families, is a package of comprehensive interventions that would deal with the basic food and socioeconomic needs of Filipinos.
President Arroyo said the program is meant to approximate those who experienced hunger for the last three months.
Mrs. Arroyo held a press conference-cum-get-together at the DSWD office on Friday. Besides Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit, Philippine International Trading Corp. Chair Roberto Pagdanganan, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye and National Adviser Eduardo Ermita also attended the conference.
Mrs. Arroyo said P250 million will be allocated for the program.
On October 4 the Social Weather Stations survey showed Filipinos had experienced hunger, without having anything to eat, at least once in the last three months.
The government said it was directing the DSWD to conduct a food-coupon program to feed them.
“This is to approximate those who experienced hunger for the last three months,” Mrs. Arroyo told reporters.
The Food for School program will target 50,000 first and second graders from Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan and Rizal.
The criteria for selection include high incidence of families living below subsistence threshold level, high incidence of undernourished first and second graders and high rates of drop-out areas identified by the Department of Education and children with high risk of dropouts.
A kilo of rice, milk, monggo beans and other items will be given to the elementary students. The program will start on the first week of November until March 25, 2005.
On the other hand, the Food for Work will provide microfinance livelihood program for the poor.
Self-employment project will be provided by the social welfare department.
The DSWD will also coordinate with Technical Education and Skills Development, Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education on program for vocational courses for the unemployed and the poor.
The priority will be families with five or more members, single parents, families with chronically ill members and families with older persons and persons with disabilities.
These families will be given P1,200 monthly food coupon by the government.
The target areas include Camarines Sur, Eastern Samar and Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and Sulu. These are areas that need expanded food-assistance programs. The Food for Work program will start on November 15
By Patricia P. Esteves