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DSWD starts validation, registration of 300K Food Stamp beneficiaries for July roll-out

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is set to start this May the validation and registration of some 300,000 families who will comprise the beneficiaries of the Walang Gutom 2027: Food Stamp Program (FSP) during its full-scale implementation in July.

“As you know we are in our pilot implementation of the Food Stamp Program. But come July ay mag full-scale implementation na tayo sa 21 provinces in 10 regions in the country identified by the Department as priority areas,” said Undersecretary for Innovations Edu Punay, who was one of the resource persons in the Saturday News Forum at the Dapo Restaurant in Quezon City.

Undersecretary Punay told reporters at the Saturday (May 11) media forum that the DSWD has hired the needed staff, about 1,000 validators, to conduct the validation and registration of beneficiaries in the FSP sites.

Meticulous program design

The DSWD official disclosed that the FSP’s design is very meticulous. Aside from the technical assistance provided by development partners such as the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), President Ferdinand . Marcos Jr also gave his inputs.

“Very hands on po si Pangulong Marcos, nagbigay po siya ng inputs niya sa design. Pinakialaman ng ating pangulo ang design. Mga three or four times naming na-present sa kanya ang programa,” Usec. Punay said. (The President was very hands on, he gave his inputs to the design. We presented the program design to him about three or four times).

Usec. Punay said the President wanted the FSP to focus not just in addressing hunger but also in promoting nutrition among the beneficiaries to prevent stunting.

“Gusto po niya ay hindi lamang sagutin ang gutom kundi gusto niyang pakaiinin ng masustansya ang mga benepisaryo,” Usec. Punay pointed out. (He wanted the program not just to address hunger but to give the beneficiaries nutritious food as a way to prevent stunting).

The DSWD undersecretary also stated that since the President is technology savvy, he wanted the program to be digitalized through the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card.

“Hindi lamang ito yong papel na voucher na pwedeng i-reproduce, kaya ang system na gamit ng programa ay secured,” he said. (This is not just a paper voucher that can be reproduced, this is why the program’s system is secured).

Another unique feature of the FSP as mentioned by Usec. Punay is that it gives the beneficiaries purchasing power by allowing them to choose the food that they want to buy for their families. The FSP also promotes social and behavioral change by teaching the beneficiaries to prepare affordable, healthy and delicious meals through the nutrition education sessions conducted in partnership with the private sector.

Usec. Punay also emphasized that the goal of the Department is to transfer the technology of the program to the local government units (LGUs) for them to replicate it for their constituents.

Ending hunger

Asked by a reporter if this initiative can help end hunger in the country, Usec. Punay expressed optimism that at the end of the FSP’s 3-year implementation, the program shall enable the 1 million food-poor target beneficiaries to rise above the poverty threshold, achieve food security and have higher income, barring unforeseen incidents such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FSP is one of the priority programs of the Marcos administration that aims to fight involuntary hunger by providing food augmentation to the bottom 1 million households based on the Listahanan 3 and who belong to the food-poor criteria as defined by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

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