Bohol DepEd aims to get FSP in 12 more towns
by Rey Anthony Chiu
Tagbilaran City (28 September) -- JUST as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced the increase of the budget for her Food-for-School Program (FSP) in 2008, Bohol Division Superintendent Dr. Cerina C. Bolos hopes the local Department of Education could reach out to more beneficiaries.
The President recently raised the FSP budget from P2.75B to P3.3B this year to further bolster the government's hunger and poverty mitigation measures.
According to Dr. Bolos, local DepEd authorities have already identified 12 more town beneficiaries after the FSP has initially served 14 towns when it started.
"We were asked then to submit the lists of FSP beneficiaries from the 14 classified as fifth to sixth class municipalities, and seeing the need to expand the services more, we wanted to serve 12 more towns this year," she said in a phone interview.
She bared that the suggestion to increase beneficiary coverage started when a local town official asked his town to be included in the list. The officials accordingly reasoned that even "richer" towns have a share of poor barangays.
FSP beneficiaries are grade 1 pupils and their families who each were receiving a ration of a kilo of iron-fortified rice daily. Such was intended not just to help upset the nutrient requirement which some family diets still could not ably provide, but also to provide food for other kids and family members.
While the families' nutrient supplement could now be ably filled supported with the food they get, Dr. Bolos admits some parents are even more motivated to send their kids to school so they could get the daily rice ration.
With the 1.2 percent increase from last year's FSP allocation of P2.75 billion, the DEPeD top official hopes that more beneficiaries could avail of the government's hunger mitigation program.
Aside from the FSP, the government is also implementing other hunger mitigation measures that will receive significant budgetary hikes such as the Tindahan Natin and Barangay Food Terminals (BFTs).
The President, in a recent barangay interaction in Quezon City also said that the government has allocated P181 million for other hunger mitigation measures, resulting in the establishment of 6,583 Tindahan Natin outlets in the most depressed areas in 52 provinces nationwide.
During a presidential barangay interaction, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap also recently informed the President of the BFTs now operating which provides residents direct access to low-priced farm products such as meat and vegetables.
The government's war on hunger and poverty has resulted in a significant drop in the hunger incidence from 19 percent in the first quarter of 2007 to 17.7 percent in the second quarter. (PIA) [top]