Malolos feeding program for children raises eyebrows due to ‘low nutritional value’
by Allan Yves Briones
Various flaws in the implementation of Malolos City’s Supplemental Feeding Program (SFP) have reportedly deprived 3,700 children of its full nutritional benefits.
“(Due to) noted deficiencies, the objectives of the SFP were not substantially attained. Thus, the expected output to improve the nutritional status of the target children could also be affected,” the Commission on Audit stated.
According to the agency’s annual audit report, the city government of Malolos, Bulacan received P6.6 million from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in 2018 for the SFP’s 8th cycle. The millions were supposedly allotted for the benefit of 3,700 day care children, aged 3 to 4 years old, from local child development centers.
However, according to state auditors, the audit revealed errors which threaten the SFP’s original objective including the provision of food with “low nutritional value”, and the incomplete procurement of ingredients.
During an ocular inspection, the audit team observed that a standard meal consisted of a slice of burger steak and a cup of rice, without fruit servings. The menu also included corned beef, sliced ham and hotdog which are less than nutritious.
“These food supplementations were not compliant to the required hot meals of high nutrition value using available indigenous materials to be served to the children,” COA said.
In addition, state auditors noticed that the city government has opted for ordinary rice instead of the required iron-fortified variant which can be procured from the National Food Authority.
Parents were also tasked with pitching in for ingredients, as meals like “ginisang-monggo” only came with rice, monggo and ground pork, without the other cooking essentials (e.g. garlic, onion, salt, tomato, oil).
The city government also caught flak for partnering up with a supplier for more expensive supplies instead of local farmers who can produce local and indigenous food. Not to mention, accounting errors like failing to set up a separate bank account, and several documentary deficiencies.
In the report, Malolos officials explained that the rice substitution was made upon the children’s poor reception of the iron-fortified rice. Nevertheless, they promised full compliance with the audit observations.
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