July 5, 2021—Amidst the challenges and restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Education Region III, through its School Health and Nutrition Focal Persons and Coordinators ensured the organized and on-schedule implementation of the School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP) for School Year 2020-2021.

“The SBFP implementation last Fiscal Year 2020 was arduous and full of challenges and hindrances with COVID-19 in our midst. The Regional Focal Person the Schools Division Focal Persons, and our school personnel undauntedly carried out the tasks in running the SBFP and distributed nutritious food products (NFP) and milk to our learners despite the fear and various community quarantines imposed across the country. DepEd Region III is among the regions with very good and on-schedule implementation,” Director Lope Santos of the DepEd Bureau of Learner Support Services said in a letter.

The SBFP served targeted public kindergarten students as well as Grades 1 to 6 students who were deemed to be under “wasted” and “severely wasted” categories based on last year’s health records. It shall provide beneficiaries with nutritious food products—through rationing—for at least 60 feeding days, and fresh or sterilized milk for 50 feeding days. The feeding program has been rolled out in implementing public elementary schools on the last week of November 2020.

Director Santos reported that for FY 2019 Milk Component, all 20 Schools Division Offices (SDOs) have already fully liquidated or fully paid their suppliers. For FY 2020 Milk Component, 13 SDOs have full deliveries and 7 SDOs have on-going deliveries. On the other hand, for the FY 2020 NFP Component, all 20 SDOs have completed deliveries.

The nutritious food products being distributed to the learners are based on a localized one-month cycle menu and a regional food supply map developed by the Regional SBFP Focal Person to ensure that these are healthy and nutritious for the target beneficiaries. On the other hand, the 20 DepEd Schools Division Offices in the region have partnered with the Philippine Carabao Center and National Dairy Authority for the supply of fresh milk for the Milk Feeding Component.  

Based on the SBFP implementing guidelines, schools strategized schemes to deliver the nutritious food products and milk packs to the beneficiaries in their homes. Parents were asked to pick up the nutritious food products and milk packs on designated days and time or school personnel also distributed them using school vehicles. School heads also coordinated with partners such as barangay officials or non-government organizations (NGOs) to distribute the milk packs to the homes of the beneficiaries.