Duterte signs national feeding program law

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Children eat rice porridge from styrofoam bowls as part of an outreach feeding program by the Manila Police Distric and the Press Corps. in this file photo taken in Manila on March 16, 2008. — BW FILE PHOTO

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

Malacañang on Tuesday, July 3, announced that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed into law Republic Act (R.A.) No. 11037, which institutionalizes the national feeding program for undernourished children nationwide.

The new law covers the undernourished children in public day care, kindergarten and elementary schools to combat hunger and undernutrition among Filipino children.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said the signing of R.A. No. 11037, otherwise known as the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act, “is a clear proof of the President’s dedication to afford every Filipino child of the right to proper healthcare and nutrition benefits.”

He added: “It is a testament that the Duterte administration recognizes the importance of good nutrition to our children’s ability to develop into physically and mentally healthy individuals… We therefore welcome the passage of this law to safeguard [children] from the ill effects of undernourishment and subsequently enhance their learning capacities.”

Section 11 of the new law states that “the amount necessary to carry out its initial implementation shall be sourced from the current appropriations of the national government agencies (NGAs). Thereafter, such sums as may be necessary for the continuous implementation of the law shall be included in the annual general appropriations act (GAA) under the respective budgets of the NGAs.”

The new law, which is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1279 and House Bill No. 5269, was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on March 20 this year. Mr. Duterte signed it into law last June 20.