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PIA Press Release

Gov't mitigates hunger in RP

By Rose B. Palacio

Davao City (4 April) -- The Philippine government has been mitigating hunger in the country and has vowed for a full transparency in government's anti-poverty program.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has created an anti-hunger task force headed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque 111 even as officials raised the possibility of conducting an internal survey to validate private polls showing that hunger in the country remains at record highs.

Secretary Duque and Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap vowed that there will be full transparency in the government's Food-for-School program which will be implemented in cooperation with church groups.

Under the FSP, rice and other foodstuff like noodles and vegetable packs will be given to schoolchildren as an incentive for attending classes, while the food-for-work program involves hiring poor and unemployed individuals to render community service, like street sweeping, in exchange for a stipend with which they can purchase food.

Secretary Duque and Yap also vowed transparency in the disbursement of the P1-billion funds released by the President for the Food for Schoolchildren program which is expected to benefit 689,000 schoolchildren and their families or a total of about three million people.

The program will be coordinated with the religious sector to ensure the provision of food to intended beneficiaries.

To those who remain suspicious, Secretary Duque bared that this is what we wish to say to you" we will implement this with full transparency and accountability. We will keep close watch so that these (food) will reach families who need them and not to politicians who want to use the program to win in the elections".

The implementation of FSP, secretary Duque said, will be open to public scrutiny and will be implemented even during the summer vacation in a system that will ensure that the families of schoolchildren receive the foodstuffs allotted to them. (PIA XI) [top]

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