Congress urged to channel P7.7-B SK funds to anti-hunger projects

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Friday, March 27, 2015


SENATOR Ralph Recto is urging Congress to channel some P7.7 billion in Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) funds towards anti-hunger projects.

The senator made the call after President Benigno Aquino III signed into law last Wednesday a measure postponing the SK elections to October 2016.

Recto said the P7.7 billion is the youth council's 10 percent share from the P76.7 billion Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) that barangays will be getting from the national government this year.

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Recto said the amount can be allocated by barangays for child-feeding and for other programs that cut malnutrition rate.

"If there's a dividend to be gained from the postponement, then, it should come in the form of children's meals," said the senator.

Although the SK elections had been postponed, Recto said the law requiring that 10 percent of barangay funds be used for youth development programs, however, is still in effect.

Republic Act 10632 states that Sangguniang Barangay should continue spending the SK fund "solely for youth development programs."

Recto said Malacañang can "officially encourage the use of SK funds for nutrition projects by ordering the appropriate agencies to issue circulars recommending barangays that feeding projects be prioritized."

"The right of the barangays to select projects will remain. The circular will just provide strong guidance. But even as a food for thought, it can mobilize resources to that area," he said.

The senator said using SK funds for feeding programs in barangay day care centers will address two challenges: promoting literacy and nutrition and tackling the supply side by sponsoring the cultivation of vegetable plots, establishment of food banks, or even education drives that will warn against unhealthy food.

Under the 2015 national budget, the Department of Education is allocated P2.8 billion to provide meals to 1.93 million undernourished school graders.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development, on the other hand, will get P3.36 billion for a supplemental feeding program covering 2.5 million children aged two to five, which is enrolled in day care centers or are wards of neighborhood associations.

Despite increasing state allocations on social services, the Social Weather Stations said 3.8 million or nearly 18 percent of Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger in the last quarter of 2014.

Likewise, the most recent National Nutrition Survey showed a picture of three in 10 children aged five years and below to be stunted while one in five are underweight.

"Doing so would allow SK funds to augment two national programs on cutting child malnutrition," Recto said, referring to his proposal to allot the youth organization's fund to feeding programs. (Sunnex)

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