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ARMM, Gawad Kalinga sign accord on school feeding program 

COTABATO CITY – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s Education department (DepEd-ARMM) and Gawad Kalinga signed a memorandum of agreement on Wednesday, October 19, to implement a school-based feeding program covering six towns.

The agreement entails the establishment of central kitchens that will benefit 11,300 students in six towns namely Bongao in Tawi-Tawi, Jolo in Sulu, Lamitan in Basilan, Taraka in Lanao del Sur, and Upi and Parang in Maguindanao.

The program will have the active participation of parents and teachers as well as representatives from local government units, private organizations, and other stakeholders. Daily preparation of nutritious meals for public schoolchildren is the general objective of the program.

In August 2015, the DepEd-ARMM and Gawad Kalinga first entered into an agreement to pilot the same program in Parang, Maguindanao. The success of that initial effort prompted the expansion of the central kitchen approach in other towns in five provinces in the region.

Dr. John A. Magno, DepEd-ARMM Secretary, said the regional government is hoping that the pilot kitchens will eventually become training centers for replication of the program throughout the region. The school-based feeding initiative will start in the six towns covered by the agreement in the second week of November.

The 2015 data of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute showed that among children aged 5 to 10, about 4 of 10 are underweight, while 6 of 100 are thin and regarded as having health problems.

“The regional government is doing concerted efforts to combat hunger and eliminate malnutrition among children,” Dr. Magno said. He stressed that the program will also help improve the attendance of schoolchildren.

After the signing of the agreement, key officials of DepEd-ARMM and Gawad Kalinga as well as representatives of various stakeholders signed a “wall of commitment” to show full support to the program. (Bureau of Public Information)

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