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1M disadvantaged households will benefit from DSWD’s “Walang Gutom 2027” program.

The “Walang Gutom 2027” program, an effort aiming at enhancing the availability of food-insecure families to nourishing foods, is anticipated to benefit almost 1 million participants, according to Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian on Tuesday.

Gatchalian stated in a press conference at the Palace that the new food stamp program from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is intended to help the “bottom” 1 million households, or those who “do not make beyond PHP8,000” in monthly income.

Gatchalian stated that the scheme aims to offer electronic benefit transfers loaded with PHP3,000 worth of food credits to allow the targeted beneficiaries to buy a specific list of food items from locally-based shops approved by the DSWD.

The bottom 1 million households from Listahanan 3 that meet the Philippine Statistics Authority’s definition of “food poor” are the focus of “Walang Gutom 2027,” he stated.
“We believe that this program will effectively address the gaps and assist its beneficiaries in achieving the recommended energy and food intake needed for each member to carry out their daily tasks and routines, which has direct and indirect contributions to human capitalization and a direct positive impact on nation-building.”

Still in the ‘design stage.’

Gatchalian stressed that the food stamp program is still “in the design stage” until June.

To benefit from its “vast technical expertise” in managing food stamp programs worldwide, he said that the DSWD is currently collaborating with the World Food Program of the United Nations.

Gatchalian noted that other consultants in the DSWD have been hired “to take a second look at what is being designed,” adding that “as we speak right now, mayroon na tayong (we already have the) first draft ng (of the) design and we will spend the remaining months of May and June in the design stage.”

trial run

He added that the pilot test for the five targeted sites will run from July to December this year and would be “fully funded” by grants totaling $3 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

According to Gatchalian, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, geographically remote regions or provinces, urban poor settings, calamity-stricken places, and rural poor communities are among the five trial locations.

“We have to make sure that the program’s context is designed to fit each identified area because what may be effective for one place may not be effective for another,” he said.

“However, the fundamental principle should remain the same: every Filipino family should have access to wholesome, delectable cuisine that is also reasonably priced. The President opened it in ADB yesterday since grants from the ADB would entirely fund the remaining six months. We are grateful, and the DSWD is grateful for the technical and financial support that the ADB has provided us.

Real-world application

By the first quarter of 2024, according to Gatchalian, the implementation of “Walang Gutom 2027” would start.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to run the actual run early in the first quarter of the next year. However, we must clarify that we won’t do it simultaneously for 1 million. That’s problems in the making, he declared.

“We need to approach it gradually. We need to start with 3,000 families for the pilot, then hopefully 300,000 for the first run the following year, another 300,000 immediately after, and hopefully 1 million for the following year.

Gatchalian expressed optimism that the food stamp program will assist the Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. government in attaining its objective of battling hunger and creating food security to realize the Philippines with no hunger.

He added that we want there to be no hunger among Filipinos before the President leaves office, adding that this will be his legacy.

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