Starting July 28, a total of 15,248 students in Valenzuela City will be receiving lunch packs every class day for School Year 2015-2016 in the 4th year of “K to 6 In-School Feeding Program”, which is the first city-wide in-school feeding program in the country.
The city-wide feeding program will deliver food packs to 9,011 children in 78 daycare centers and 6,327 selected Kinder to Grade 6 in all 41 public elementary schools.
Elementary students who will receive food in the feeding program are those who either malnourished or undernourished when weighed during their enrollment.
Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian, who started the program in 2012 during his term as mayor, said the feeding program has helped eradicate malnutrition in children in the city and improve the school performance of undernourished kids.
To elevate the benefits of feeding program nationwide, Gatchalian’s House Bill No. 5348, also known as the “Nutri-Skwela Act of 2015”, to institutionalize feeding programs that will distribute free meals to students around the country.
“Subok na sa Valenzuela City na epektibo at kapaki-pakinabang ang mga feeding program. Bukod sa lumusog sila, mas ginaganahan pa sila pumasok dahil libre ang kanilang baon,” said Gatchalian, who served as mayor of Valenzuela City for 9 years.
“Kung kayang gawin sa aming lungsod, sigurado ako na kaya din sa ibang lugar. Kailangan lang ng suporta ng national government at iyan ang gusto nating mangyari sa pagsusulong ng “Nutri-Skwela Act”,” he added.
“Nutri-Skwela Act” will establish the Philippine Basic Education Nutrition and Performance Acceleration Program to ensure that children enrolled in daycare pupils, kindergarten, and Grades 1 to 6 in all public educational institutions nationwide will be able to have at least one meal on each school day of the academic year.
Children whose daily academic program lasts for more than 5 hours will be eligible to receive two meals. City and municipal nutrition committees will be responsible for the purchase of food and for the logistical and organizational concerns of the program.
Last March, Senator Grade Poe visited the central kitchen of the “K to 6 In-School Feeding Program” as one of the model subject for her Senate Bill No. 79 or the “Sustansiya sa Batang Pilipino Act of 2013”, which also pushes for a nationwide feeding program.
During her visit, Poe asked Gatchalian to collaborate with her legislative efforts in pushing for a bill in Congress that will create a feeding program for all schools in the Philippines.
“Kayamanan ng ating bansa ang ating populasyon, at kailangan ng edukasyon upang malinang ang kayamanang ito. Para ganahan ang mga mag-aaral, kailangan natin ng feeding program sa buong bansa,” Poe said during his visit on March 10.
“Upang maitulak ito, kailangan ko ng tulong ng mambabatas at may kasanayan sa mga feeding program kagaya ni Congressman Gatchalian natin,” she added.
The “K to 6 In-School Feeding Program” of Valenzuela City, Poe said, sets an example on how local government units (LGUs) can tap volunteers and non-government organizations (NGOs) to feed malnourished students.
For his part, Gatchalian said he is willing to cooperate with Poe and other lawmakers in pushing for a nationwide feeding program. (Tim Alcantara)