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PIA Press Release

A kilo of rice per child is allocated - Andaya

By Alice Nicart

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar (28 March) -- Only one kilo of the iron-fortified rice shall be given to a family of more than one school child everyday.

Thus said Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Rolando Andaya in a radio interview. Speaking live over DZRH which is hooked for local FM radio stations, Andaya said that the hunger-mitigating intervention of the Arroyo government is not politically motivated as perceived by many cynical parties.

In truth, he said the fund which is currently being spent for the operationalization of the program was still part of the 2006 allocation. The P1B which President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has allocated is not yet spent but it is already earmarked for the project.

Anchorman Joe Taruc asked why the project has been implemented in such time when the May election is close, but Andaya answered, it is all up to the political critics of the government he said, with whatever they wish to brand for the most urgent action government is doing right now to lighten up hunger amongst low income groups of families, he stressed that for them, hunger awaits no season. Likewise, Taruc mentioned the previous "food program" which he said was to mitigate malnutrition among schoolchildren, but Andaya was quick to say that this current program is different because it is real hunger that is being addressed urgently. The problem on the "hidden hunger" which refers to mineral deficiencies among children will come later because the former, he said is most urgent.

Asked who are actually the target beneficiaries of the P1B "Food for School" program, DBM Secretary said that all Grade I to VI pupils will receive everyday the rice allocation, except for those families who are sending more than one child to the elementary school who shall receive only one kilo.

Another problem was raised by the interviewer as regards closing of classes which would mean division and district offices and teachers as well will be off for vacation. But Andaya said that parents will be tapped, non-government organizations and church leaders in the distribution. (PIA-Eastern Samar) [top]

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