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Food Stamp pilot test to help enhance program’s systems, mechanisms – DSWD Secretary Gatchalian

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Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian said Thursday (July 20) that the pilot run of the recently-launched Food Stamp Program will serve as a preparation for the full implementation of the government’s anti-hunger program nationwide.

“We don’t want to be embarking on a scaled-up program without studying what works and what does not work,” Secretary Gatchalian said in his interview with journalist Katrina Domingo of ANC.

Secretary Gatchalian emphasized that the pilot test, which will extensively run for six months, will provide an opportunity for the DSWD to further enhance the program’s systems and mechanisms, and to help in improving its full implementation next year.

“The larger the pilot the better it is because we see to get the outcomes from different geographic areas,” the DSWD chief said.

Secretary Gatchalian also pointed out that DSWD will work with other government agencies to supplement the efforts of the DSWD in ending involuntary hunger and stunting in the country.

The DSWD will collaborate with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for other possible interventions intended to support the nutrition needs of food-poor families, and pregnant and nursing mothers.

“The President gave us marching orders, myself, (DOH) Secretary Herbosa, (DILG) Secretary Abalos, to work in unison together, so we could share data and we can tailor fit our program to each other’s program,” Secretary Gatchalian said.

The DSWD chief also identified food-poor families, based on the definition from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), as households that “do not make beyond Php 8,000” income per month, noting that the FSP only aims to supplement their food intake.

“This is supplemental in nature. We do not plan to augment their entire month’s food needs,” Secretary Gatchalian said.

The DSWD chief also made mention of the other goals of the program, one of which is to change the behavior of its beneficiaries in terms of their eating habits.

“It is about teaching. We teach food poor families to purchase right, to cook right, to eat right at home,” Secretary Gatchalian pointed out.

The DSWD Secretary assured the FSP beneficiaries that there will be enough merchandise partners to cater to them, as the DSWD continues the accreditation process of agri-cooperatives, grocery stores, and small and medium enterprises.

Secretary Gatchalian is hopeful that the successful pilot run of the FSP will result in alleviating involuntary hunger, malnutrition and stunting in the Philippines.

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