The Department of Education (DepEd) recognizes how important good nutrition is for the improvement of learners’ academic performance. Consequently, it is associated with increased enrolment, better performance, improved attendance, decreased repetition and dropout rate. Thus, DepEd proposed in the 2014 Budget a School-Based Feeding Program that will cater to a targeted 562,262 severely wasted (SW) school children in Kinder to Grade 6 nationwide based on the Nutritional Status (NS) Baseline Report through DepEd Order 54, s. 2013.
Hence, with the thrust of President Benigno C. Aquino’s Administration to strengthen and maximize Public-Private Partnerships along implementation of various programs and projects, the implementation of SBFP shall be in partnership with the local government units (LGUs) and non-government organizations (NGOs)/ civil society organizations (CSOs) in order to pool the resources and sustain the initiative of partners to cover more beneficiaries and possibly include wasted (W) learners if funds are still available.
The budget proposal of DepEd to feed its SW children was approved but the budget was lodged with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as per direction of President Aquino to DSWD to implement a national feeding program that will cover the daycare center pupils and the school children as well. The said budget was released to DSWD Regional Offices (DSWD-ROs) which will then be transferred to DepEd Regional Offices (DepEd-ROs), then to the DepEd Division Offices (DepEd-DOs), and finally to the respective school beneficiaries.
The feeding implementation shall be done for 120 days that is expected to begin within the month of July 2014 until March 2015 but shall not start later than September of the same year in order for the program to be covered before the school year ends by March of the following year.
Another equally important part of the SBFP implementation are the following: first, is the release of funds which is done in two (2) tranches by the DSWD ROs to DepEd ROs upon signing of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), and submission of required documents. The DepEd RO then shall release funds to the DOs upon submission of Work Financial Plan (WFP) with the list of schools and the target number of beneficiaries based on NS Baseline Report for SY 2013-2014. Second, the procurement process, which is guided by the provisions of RA 9184. Lastly, is the liquidation of funds. Unlike in the past when DepEd was the direct fund source, the release and liquidation of funds were only between the DOs and the Schools. However, this time, the release and liquidation will be from DSWD-RO to DepEd-RO to DO to beneficiary schools.
The planning workshop is being done in order to capacitate the participants on the operational guidelines as they are expected to give orientation to the school implementers – the elementary school heads, the feeding coordinators, the school Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) members. Thus, they are expected also to formulate the action plan which will then serve as their guide in order to ensure that the activities are done on time for a smooth implementation of the program.
On this regard, our Schools Division Health and Nutrition Head Mrs. Nancy L. Dequito, RN has already presented to our SDS this matter and the latter had already approved the Activity Design for a one (1) day orientation for the purpose.