By Roy Ramos
The Philippines government doubled the 2018 budget to 156 million pesos ($8.75 million) for a program intended to combat hunger and malnutrition of 7,000 children in the Bangsamoro region.
After President Rodrigo Duterte gave directives to attend to the nutritional needs of the children in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) last October, Social Welfare and Development Department increased the budget for Bangsamoro Umpungan sa Nutrisyon (Bangun) program.
“I want the incidence of hunger stopped. Please do something about the ARMM. I pity the children. Let us look for means even for the children’s food,” Duterte said in October at the launching of the Bangun program.
“We want to respond to the Moro children who, for a long time, were not included in the regular feeding program of the government,” Maris Abenojar, Director of Social Welfare and Development Department, was quoted as saying by Rappler.
Abenojar further explained that Moro children, who go to Madrasa schools, do not usually enjoy the feeding programs implemented in day care centers.
The program, which is set to start in August, will feed at least 6,800 children between the ages of 2-5 in the provinces of Sulu and Maguindanao with one hot meal per day for 120 days.
With the increased budget in 2018, the program will provide two hot meals per day to 7,000 children.
The program aims to reduce malnutrition rates in the war-torn and poor Bangsamoro region.
According to Philippine Statistics Authority, the poverty rate in ARMM was 59 percent, while it was 23 percent nationwide in the first period of 2015.
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