The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) clarified on Saturday that the PhP3,000 worth of food credits loaded to the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Cards of Food Stamp Program (FSP) beneficiaries are just complementary to their existing sources of income.
DSWD Assistant Secretary Irene Dumlao said in a weekly news forum in Quezon City that the government wanted to ensure that FSP beneficiaries will still continue with their sources of income and not solely rely on the food credits loaded to their EBT Cards.
“Ito pong PhP3,000 food benefits na nakalagay doon sa EBT Cards ay complementary naman po doon sa currently na resource, doon sa current resources po ng isang pamilya. Ito ay karagdagan po doon,” Dumlao said when asked if the food credit is enough to sustain the needs of the beneficiaries.
“Kung ano rin mayroon na po sila … we just like to stress that, ito po ay karagdagan lamang po doon sa resources ng ating mga beneficiaries,” Dumlao added, as she stressed that the food credits will be loaded to beneficiaries monthly.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. officially launched on Friday the FSP at the Teatro Nan Dapa in Dapa, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte as he led the distribution of EBT Cards to at least 50 beneficiaries, a few months after the program was pilot-tested on July 18, in Tondo, Manila.
The EBT Cards can be used to purchase food products in all DSWD-accredited merchants and in all participating stalls of the “Kadiwa ng Pangulo,” among others.
Dumlao explained the World Food Programme of the United Nations (UN) has chosen Siargao for the official launching of the FSP as it appeared to have a higher number of families that fall under the “food-poor” category especially when it was hit by Typhoon Odette in December 2021.
She explained that “food-poor” is the term used for involuntary hunger, or the inability of a family to consume sufficient and quality food based on the criteria of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which is now being addressed by the DSWD.
The assistant secretary also emphasized that they wanted to assess the impact of the FSP in areas where a significant number of “food-poor” families are recorded due to disaster.
“Ang tinitignan po natin diyan ‘no hindi lang po sufficient supply of food, but we’re also looking at the adequate quality of food that they will be consuming, hindi lamang po pagsagot sa pangangailangan ng pagkain,” she said.
“Dapat tinitiyak natin na nutritious ‘yon pong kanilang kino-consume na mga pagkain. Dahil ang gusto po natin hindi lamang pag-address noong kagutuman, but we also wanted to ensure that our beneficiaries are healthy and are strong so that they could be part of the labor economy,” she added.
Dumlao said they are targeting a million FSP beneficiaries, who will be required to participate in “nutrition education activities” to ensure that they have enough knowledge on how to properly and adequately provide nutritious foods to themselves and their family members.
She emphasized they are working closely with the National Nutrition Council (NNC) to guide the beneficiaries as far as their health benefits are concerned. *PND*