QUEZON CITY (PIA) -- About one million poor families are expected to benefit from “Walang Gutom 2027 Food Stamp program” of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as it is set to pilot run in July.
DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian Gatchalian said that the food stamp program aims to provide food augmentation to the bottom 1 million households from Listahanan 3 who belong to the food poor criteria as defined by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The program, he added, is currently in the design phase and they target to roll out the pilot implementation by July to December this year. It would be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) through grants amounting to US$3 million.
It will be conducted in five (5) pilot sites with ‘different geopolitical characteristics.’ This includes the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, geographically isolated regions, urban poor settings, calamity-stricken areas, and rural poor areas.
The DSWD chief added that the pilot implementation will initially cover 3,000 families.
“We have to do the pilot at 3,000 families; 300,000 hopefully next year sa first run; another 300,000 right after and then hopefully, reach the magic number of one million in the succeeding year,” he said.
Target beneficiaries or those families whose income does not go beyond P8,000 a month will be given electronic benefit card or ‘tap cards’ which will be loaded with food credits amounting to P3,000.
The tap cards could be used by the beneficiaries to “purchase a select list of food commodities from DSWD-accredited local retailers.”
Gatchalian also clarified that the tap cards will not be loaded with money but will instead be loaded with food equivalent. He added that the Social Welfare department is working with the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) in crafting the program.
“The baskets of goods are always composed of 50% carbs, 30% protein, 20% fats. So mamimili ka lang within the food groups. Let's say you go to accredited partner retailer. You get to choose lang from a selected list of food items in that food group. So, kung carbs, it's either rice or whatever you may have. Hindi ito tipong cash na ibibigay natin,” he said.
The program will also be conditional and have a ‘work component.’ This means that those who will sign up would be required to seek employment in order to continue receiving the benefit.
“Ang condition nga doon is when you signed up, you have to go to the nearest public employment office, get a certification that you are now partaking, being counted as part of the workforce no matter what job it is,” Gatchalian emphasized.
He pointed out that the agency will continuously measure and monitor the beneficiaries in the regions that it has identified throughout the program.
DSWD hoped that through the program, the country will be able to combat hunger and achieve food security towards the realization of a zero hunger Philippines. (EEDC/PIA-CPSD)