About 3,600 beneficiaries, 80% of which are school children have benefited from the Pagkain para sa Masa program since it was launched in February last year.

The municipalities of Gutalac, Tampilisan, Kalawit, Gutalac, Siocon in Zamboanga del Norte; Siay, Imelda in Zamboanga Sibugay; Dimataling, Midsalip, Ramon Magsaysay, Kumalarang, Lakewood, San Pablo, Pitogo, Tigbao, Dumalinao, Tukuran in Zamboanga del Sur and Bolong in Zamboanga City are selected as target areas by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in coordination with the Department of Health Nutrition Council (DOH-NNC) and the Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The selection of areas was made via the national guidelines of the Pagkain Para sa Masa priority for 4th and 5th class municipalities and in areas that have high malnutrition rates for both women, men, children and breastfeeding mothers.

According to Ms Gianipa Manupac, DA9 focal person for Pagkain para sa Masa, the feeding activity in schools is conducted once a week, and the daily schedules are set for different feeding stations in every municipality. “All are 4th class municipalities with 200 beneficiaries each, and only one 5th class which is Tigbao which has 400 beneficiaries. The LGUs have their own initiatives, that aside from the regular “Arroz Caldo” service, some also provide viands of assorted vegetables, eggs and/or rice in some cases.”

Manupac also said that for the part of the DA, through the commodity programs on rice, corn, high value crops and livestock, the DA provides project interventions in the community  or school such as livelihood trainings, seeds, other farm inputs,  to support the for communal school farms.

The Pagkain para sa Masa program is still ongoing and aims to capacitate the marginalized group in the community to earn income with farming activities and to improve nutritional status among children.

It was also mentioned by Agriculture Secretary Manny F. Piñol, that this program is an inter-agency cooperation with which forms part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s mission to provide available and affordable food for the Filipinos. #

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