DepEd-DA milk program addresses needs of 3.3M grade schoolers

DepEd-DA milk program addresses needs of 3.3M grade schoolers

MANILA – The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) are aiming to provide the nutritional benefits of milk to some 3.3 million students in more than 34,000 public schools nationwide.

On Friday, DepEd’s Bureau of Learner Support Services-School Health Division Dr. Maria Corazon Dumlao said the DA’s National Dairy Authority (NDA) and the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) have supplied 75 percent of the target milk volume for 2021 under the School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP).

“From April 6 to 28, 2021, the DA-NDA has supplied 46 percent of the total milk requirement, benefitting 1,540,087 children, ranging from kindergarten to Grade 6, under various School Division Offices in the country,” Dumlao said in a statement.

The DA-PCC, on the other hand, supplied milk rations for 974,022 students or about 25 percent of the total DepEd target beneficiaries, Dumlao added.

Data provided by the agency showed that there are so far 2.5 million schoolchildren who are enjoying the nutritional benefits from the milk feeding program.

The remaining 822,275 schoolchildren will likely receive commercial powdered or sterilized milk from other sources.

Secretary William Dar assured the DA will pursue and continue the investment to make the children “and the succeeding generations of Filipinos healthier, stronger and smarter”.

“As we conduct more milk feeding programs, we also support and expand the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and their families who are members of carabao and dairy cattle associations,” Dar said in another statement.

In 2020, a total of 3,138,223 children benefitted from the milk component of the SBFP, almost double its target of 1.7 million beneficiaries.

Of the total milk supplied, 81 percent came from the NDA and PCC, benefitting 33,760 schools, the DepEd shared.

The joint DepEd-DA milk feeding program complies with Republic Act No. 11037, or the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 18, 2020.

The program was later integrated into the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. (PNA)