July 23, 2021 – After surpassing its target in the past school year, the Department of Education (DepEd) will increase its School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP) to cover 3.1 million learners for the upcoming School Year (SY) 2021-2022.

For SY 2020-2021, the SBFP surpassed its 1.7 million target beneficiaries, posting a 183.46% achievement rate for the milk component and 198.15% for the Nutritious Food Products (NFP) component.

“In spite of the school closure due to pandemic, the Department will continue our School-Based Feeding Program to ensure the improvement in nutritional status and to reduce micronutrient deficiencies for the enhancement of school participation and learning outcomes of our learners,” Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.

According to the report of the Bureau of Learner Support Services-School Health Division (BLSS-SHD), SBFP will target to provide fresh milk and NFP to 3,159,118 learners, respectively, in 34,375 public schools nationwide.

“For 2021-2022, we will be targeting the primary and secondary beneficiaries. We are recommending to expand the supply of sterilized milk to identified far-flung areas and our products for Muslim learners should get Halal certification,” School Health Division Chief Dr. Maria Corazon Dumlao said.

The primary beneficiaries of the SBFP are incoming kindergarten learners and grades one to six under the wasted and severely wasted category in the nutritional status report. Meanwhile, secondary beneficiaries are the learners in Last Mile Schools with 100 enrollees and below, pupils-at-risk-of dropping-out (PARDOs), indigenous people (IP) learners, those coming from indigent families, and stunted learners identified in the SY 2019-2020 SBFP implementation.

Meanwhile, Bureau of Learner Support Services (BLSS) Director Lope Santos III mentioned that the Department will closely coordinate with the Department of Agriculture (DAR), Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Carabao Center and National Dairy Authority, and Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) to tap the local producers, manufacturers, cooperatives and technology adopters to revitalize agiculture and local industry.

“Naghahanap tayo ng local fresh fruits o alternatibo dito para maisama natin sa School-Based Feeding Program. Nag-request na rin tayo sa FNRI if they can help in the processing of calamansi or dalandan or other local fruit juices suitable for our children. Para mas makinabang ‘yong mga Filipino farmers rather than imported fruits ang ating binibili,” Director Santos III said.

“If our needs for SBFP can be sourced from our local producers, food processors and manufacturers, makakatulong tayo sa pag-unlad ng ating agrikultura at industriya, he added.

The SBFP complies with the Republic Act No. 11037, otherwise known as the “Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act,” signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 20, 2018.

SBFP provides nutritious food products and pasteurized or sterilized milk to undernourished learners. It aims to address hunger, contribute to nutritional status, improve school performance and learning outcomes, and increase the cognitive function and academic performance of the learners.