DepEd’s feeding program for SY 2021-2022 to benefit 3.1 million learners

Published July 23, 2021, 6:21 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

For the upcoming School Year (SY) 2021-2022, the Department of Education’s (DepEd) School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP) is expected to benefit 3.1 million learners.

(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones expressed the agency’s commitment to continue implementing the SBFP amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“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,” she said in a statement.

DepEd cited that the program surpassed its 1.7 million target beneficiaries for SY 2020-2021. The SBFP posted a 183.46 percent achievement rate for the milk component and 198.15 percent for the Nutritious Food Products (NFP) component.

Based on the report provided by the Bureau of Learner Support Services-School Health Division (BLSS-SHD), the program is set to cover 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.

Included in the list of primary SBFP beneficiaries are incoming kindergarten learners and Grades 1 to 6 under the wasted and severely wasted category in the nutritional status report.

Meanwhile, learners in Last Mile Schools with 100 enrollees and below, pupils-at-risk-of dropping-out (PARDOs), indigenous people (IP) learners, those coming from indigent families, and stunted learners identified in the SY 2019-2020 SBFP implementation are considered as secondary program beneficiaries.

Bureau of Learner Support Services (BLSS) Director Lope Santos III said they have started seeking assistance from various agencies in preparation for the full implementation of the program and to ensure that the local producers, manufacturers, cooperatives and technology adopters will be tapped to revitalize agriculture and local industry.

The concerned agencies include the Department of Agriculture (DAR), Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Carabao Center and National Dairy Authority, and Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI).

Santos said they requested the FNRI’s assistance in the processing of calamansi or dalandan or other local fruit juices suitable for the school children.

He noted that they are also scouting for local fresh fruits and alternatives for inclusion in the SBFP.

“If our needs for SBFP can be sourced from our local producers, food processors and manufacturers, makakatulong tayo sa pag-unlad ng ating agrikultura at industriya (we can help revitalize our agriculture and industry),” he said.

Under SBFP, nutritious food products and pasteurized or sterilized milk are given to undernourished learners.

The program aims to address hunger, contribute to nutritional status, improve school performance and learning outcomes, and increase the cognitive function and academic performance of the learners, DepEd said.

It said the program “complies” with the Republic Act No. 11037, otherwise known as the “Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act”.

The law was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 20, 2018.

 
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