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Anti-poverty commission: Food stamps temporary but necessary aid for poor

The Marcos administration’s plan to distribute food stamps to the poorest one million households next year is a temporary but necessary step in stamping out poverty, the National Poverty Commission (NAPC) said Friday.

NAPC Vice Chairperson and South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo, Jr. was referring to the Walang Gutom 2027 - a food stamp program that assists targeted households to address involuntary hunger in the country.

The said program will provide a P3,000 food allowance a month for the bottom one million poor households as defined by the Philippine Statistics Authority. These beneficiaries can use this P3,000 monthly food allowance to purchase a select list of food commodities from Department of Social Welfare and Development-registered or accredited local retailers.

“It is true that it is a band-aid solution, it is a temporary solution. But we think that while we integrate other sustainable solutions, for the meantime, kailangan natin iyon para maitawid lang,” Tamayo told reporters at the sidelines of the NAPC’s 25th anniversary celebration.

(We need this to tide them over.)

“Then, after, papasok iyong mga sustainable programs natin na makakatulong sa problemang ito,” Tamayo added.

(Then, after, in comes our sustainable programs that can help with the problem.)

Maricel Deloria of the DSWD’s Program Management Bureau backed Tamayo, saying that the government had a lot of sustainable programs which address poverty.

“The question is, are food stamps enough? Distributing food stamps is just one of the many programs of the government, including NAPC. We have a lot of other initiatives such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), supplementary feeding program, among others,” Deloria said.

The 4Ps is the Conditional Cash Transfer for the poorest households provided they comply with conditions promoting human development goals, such as children attending school 85% of the time and attending family development sessions.

“Our National Nutrition Council and the Department of Health also have programs [against poverty], and we are able to implement it,” she added.

NAPC Lead Convenor Lope Santos III, for his part, assured the public that NAPC will ensure that the food stamps will go to those who need it.

“NAPC won’t be an implementing agency [for this], but our task is to coordinate policy development, program development, and convergence. We will ensure that these will go to the rightful beneficiaries,” he said.

A recent Social Weather Stations survey showed that 51% or 14 million Filipino families rated themselves as poor. — DVM, GMA Integrated News