March 9, 2021 – Aside from nourishing healthy learners, the School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP) of the Department of Education (DepEd) also helped local food processors and dairy producers in recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to give our thanks to our partners for the implementation of the school-based feeding program despite the pandemic because we know that learners still need the food and milk packs. Nurturing learners is one of our priorities to help them study efficiently,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones shared.

During the Central Office’s visit to the Schools Division of Rizal and Antipolo City, DepEd-Bureau of Learner Support Service (BLSS) OIC Director Lope Santos III pointed out how schools and local food producers coordinate to provide food commodities to the learners under the SBFP.

“’Yong ibang nakita natin ‘tong mga small [and] medium enterprises, ‘yong mga supplier natin ng nutritious food products ay talagang certified and accredited ng DOST-FNRI, at ‘yong mga supplier naman ng gatas ay mga kooperatiba ng magsasaka at ka-partner ng National Dairy Authority at Philippine Carabao Center ” said BLSS OIC-Dir. Santos III.

According to the field offices, there are three local manufacturers for the milk components while schools selected the suppliers of their food commodities for the SDO Rizal. SDO Antipolo City, meanwhile, listed a total of three milk and five nutritious local food product suppliers.

In a released report from BLSS, the SBFP already provided Nutritious Food Products (NFP) to 3,517,807 where 3,136,951 learners with milk ration from more than 33,000 public schools in the country. It surpassed the benchmark target of 1.7 million beneficiaries, with 205.9% achievement rate for NFP and 176.69% for milk components.

OIC-Director Santos III also spearheaded the execution and the actual process from repacking up to the distribution of the nutritious food and milk to the learners’ parents during their three-day visit in Rizal Province.

“Nakita natin ‘yong actual na supply chain ng School-Based Feeding Program. Nakita natin ‘yong delivery no’ng both milk and nutritious food products. Na-meet natin ‘yong kanilang mga supplier. Sinundan natin ito sa actual distribution sa mga eskwelahan na pini-pick up no’ng mga parents ‘yong food packs at saka ‘yong milk packs… So, maganda ‘yong process kahit na may pandemic. Nakita natin na tumatakbo ‘yong ating programa.” he added.

The Central Office team monitored Patricio Jarin Memorial Elementary School, Taytay Elementary School, Tomas Claudio Memorial Elementary School, San Guillermo Elementary School, and Lagundi Elementary School in SDO Rizal and Bagong Nayon IV Elementary School, Mayamot Elementary School, and Juan Sumulong Elementary School in SDO Antipolo City.

Rizal Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Cherrylou Repia noted the importance of the program for the less-fortunate learners and local manufacturers who lost their jobs during the pandemic.

“Kaya we know for a fact that the feeding program is a ‘come on’ for students to attend classes. Alam natin ‘yan na nag-improve talaga ang attendance ng mga bata dahil sa mayroon silang nakakain [from] schools,” shared SDS Repia.

The team composed of the Office of the Undersecretary for Administration, School Health Division, and Youth Formation Division also monitored other DepEd programs that include School Dental Health Program (SDHCP), Gabaldon School Buildings Restoration, Gulayan sa Paaralan at School Inside a Garden.