Senators say feeding programs best left to LGUs

Published October 13, 2021, 4:45 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Some senators on Wednesday suggested that local government units (LGUs) should take the lead in feeding programs administered by the National Nutrition Council (NNC) and other government agencies.

During the Senate finance subcommittee’s hearing on the budget of Department of Health (DOH) and its attached agencies for 2022, Senator Cynthia Villar said these kind of activity should be devolved to the LGUs, since it is “more local.”

“Yung mga ganitong activity, dapat i-devolve kasi masyadong local. Mas magandang gawin yan sa local kaysa sa national (This kind of activity should be devolved to the local governments. It’s better implemented in the local rather than national),” Villar told the NNC.

NNC executive director Azucena Dayanghirang, however, said that the agency practically works with LGUs to implement its programs.

Dayanghirang said LGUs contribute by providing transport services for the food products they are to distribute to beneficiaries.

But Senators Pia Cayetano and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon agreed with Villar’s suggestion.

According to Cayetano, there must be a “limit as to what the national government can spend and efficiently carry out.”

She also noted that the NNC is not the only agency to suffer budget cuts in its feeding program.

“Same with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and also even the feeding program of the Department of Education (DepEd) have all suffered cuts,” Cayetano pointed out.

Drilon, on the other hand, said NNC should just set policies for guiding LGUs in implementing feeding programs.

“This activity is an activity which can be done with ease and better coordination by the LGUs,” he said.

Drilon pointed out the NNC was originally established to set policies for the LGUs to be guided and the actual implementation “should be a devolved function.”

The minority leader also said he sees “better success” if LGUs are in control of the feeding programs since they have a better understanding of the local people.

“I agree with Sen. Villar. What is so difficult about this feeding program that this cannot be done by LGUs?” he pointed out.