By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) signed last October 7 the implementing rules and regulations of the Republic Act (RA) 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act that institutionalizes the government feeding programs for children in schools.
RA 11037, which was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 20, 2018, mandates DSWD to implement the supplementary feeding program for undernourished daycare children who are from three to five years old.
The daycare children will be provided with at least one fortified meal for a period of not less than 120 days in a year.
In a related note, DSWD assured the parents of children enrolled in daycare centers that food products used for the feeding program are safe.
DSWD issued the assurance following an incident involving the delivery of spoiled meat, which was supposed to be used for SFP in the municipalities of Orani, Dinalupihan, Orion, Mariveles, and Limay in Bataan.
The agency is now closely working with the provincial government of Bataan to ensure the procurement of safe meat products to be used for the feeding program for daycare children in the province.
SFP is the provision of food in addition to the regular meals to children currently enrolled in Child Development Centers and Supervised Neighborhood Play as part of DSWD’s contribution to the Early Childhood Care and Development program of the government.
Upon learning of the incident, DSWD-Region 3 Director Marites Maristela had a meeting with the supplier who committed to replace the contaminated meat supplies and to shoulder all the expenses for the disposal.
Maristela also coordinated with the Regional National Meat Inspection Service for the provision of technical assistance to the supplier on the proper handling and storage of meat products and other perishable goods.
DSWD-Region 3 is further studying the provisions of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act to determine if there are violations committed by the supplier.
The Department also ensured strict compliance to the Amended Omnibus Guidelines in the Implementation of SFP to maintain the integrity and efficient implementation of the program.