VARIOUS quarters acknowledge that malnourishment among public school students remains a problem of education and other concerned government offices and agencies.
It is public knowledge that pupils studying in public kindergarten and elementary schools throughout the country are mostly children of impoverished farmers, fishermen and laborers.
Aware of this, the House of Representatives has passed on third and final reading a proposed law institutionalizing the government’s national feeding program for public school pupils.
House Bill (HB) No. 5269 aims to mitigate malnourishment among public school children, thus ensuring that they will be adequately prepared for the formal learning system.
Under the proposed law, a system for early identification, prevention, referral, and intervention of developmental disorders and disabilities in early childhood will be established.
It seeks to set up the National School Feeding Program (NSFP), which shall serve as an alternative approach for providing free supplementary meals for public school pupils.
Mandated to lead the NSFP administration and implementation is the Department of Education (DepEd).
Eleven other national state agencies, including the Department of Health, National Food Authority, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture and Department of Trade and Industry, are tasked to make available such resources as may be necessary to ensure the successful implementation of the NSFP.
The others are the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Food and Drug Administration, National Dairy Authority, National Economic and Development Authority, National Nutrition Council and Food and Nutrition Research Center.
This is precisely what we need. We must ensure the health and welfare of public kindergarten and elementary school pupils not only in the metropolis but elsewhere.