Despite the challenges that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has presented, the Department of Education (DepEd) continued the implementation of its School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP) benefitting over 3.5 million kindergarten and elementary students.
In an Aide Memoire dated Feb. 11 signed by DepEd Undersecretary Alain Pascua, it was noted that more than 3.5 million students – from Kindergarten to Grade 6 – received food and milk under the SBFP.
DepEd said 3,517,807 students received nutritious food products (NFP) under the SBFP and 3,136,951 million also received milk through the SBFP’s milk component.
“These numbers represent a 205.9 percent achievement for NFP and 176.69 percent for milk of the 1,775,349 [target] beneficiaries,” Pascua said.
As of December 2020, Pascua said that there were 34, 771 schools which implemented the NFP component while 33, 732 schools included the Fresh Milk component.
“With the challenges brought about by the pandemic, DepEd adopted and innovated strategies to implement the SBFP following all standards and health protocols,” Pascua said.
Due to deferment of face-to-face classes, Pascua said “most of the schools directly distributed the food and milk items to the homes of the beneficiaries.”
Among the strategies include asking parents to pick up the food products and milk from the schools. These are ready for pick up designated days and time.
In other places, school personnel delivered the food products and milk to the homes of beneficiaries. Some coordinated with barangay officials or non-government organizations for the distribution process.
Pascua noted that last year, the government allotted P5.97 billion for the SBFP which was implemented starting August 2020.
For the school year 2021-2022, Pascua said that “DepEd will sustain the implementation of the program with another P6 billion allocation.”
Pascua said that the approved budget for SY 2021-2022 is P6,0444, 788 and the target beneficiaries of 3,158, 188 kindergarten and severely wasted and wasted Grades 1 to 6 students.
Primarily, the SBFP aims to “address hunger among learners and encourage them to enroll.”
The program also aims to contribute to the improvement of learners’ nutritional status, provide nourishment for their growth and development, help boost their immune system and enhance their overall health and nutritional values.