MANILA -- The Senate has increased the feeding budget for children of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) by P1 billion, raising the amount to P4.427 billion, so that the agency can to enable the agency to serve one hot meal daily to children next year.
The additional budget will aid in feeding 1.74 million children between the ages of 2 to 4 years old for 120 days next year.
Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto credited the hike to the "united stand" of senators to boost funding for anti-child malnutrition activities. In arguing the need for an increase, Recto revealed that the P13 cost of meal served in schools and day cares was lower than the meal budget of prisoners.
"Preso value meals are in fact slightly costlier than school lunches," Recto said. The per meal budget will now be increased to P20. The government's feeding program for children runs on two parallel tracks: DSWD takes care of "severely wasted and underweight" children ages 2 to 4 who are in day cares or neighborhood play groups, while the Department of Education is in charge of enrolled children ages 5 to 11 or those in kindergarten to grade 6.