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DSWD rolls out the country’s first digital food stamp program

QUEZON CITY, (PIA) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Tuesday, July 18, spearheaded the national launching of the Philippines’ pioneer food stamp program (FSP) ‘Walang Gutom 2027’ in Tondo, Manila.

The said program mainly aims to alleviate the lingering incidence of food poverty and malnutrition among low-income Filipino households through the provision of meal augmentation worth PHP 3,000 on a monthly basis from July to December 2023. 

This will benefit a total of 1 million families who are classified as ‘food poor’ according to the criteria and definitions set by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) alongside pregnant and nursing mothers, among others. 

During the kick-off ceremony of the FSP, DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian stressed that the program integrates solutions to the problem of food and financial insecurity.

(DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian delivers his welcome message during the Philippine Digital Food Stamp launch in Tondo, Manila/Screengrab from RTVM)

“Sa Walang Gutom Program, hindi lang natin sisiguraduhin na walang Pilipino ang matutulog na walang laman ang sikmura, atin din pong sisiguraduhin na masustansya ang kanilang kinakain upang sila’y magkaroon ng sapat na lakas at maging bahagi ng ating labor economy (Through the Walang Gutom Program, we will not only ensure that no Filipino will go to sleep hungry, but also see to it that their food is healthy enough to give them the strength and be part of our labor economy),” said Gatchalian. 

“Makakaasa po kayo na ating tututukan ang ating bagong programa at sisiguraduhin ang tagumpay nito para sa ikauunlad ng ating mahihirap na kababayan at sa pag-abot natin sa isang bagong Pilipinas na walang gutom (Rest assured that we will oversee the effective implementation of this landmark project and ensure its success towards the betterment of the lives of our struggling fellow Filipinos in achieving a hunger-free Philippines),” he added, highlighting that the DSWD also seeks to replicate this initiative in various pilot areas including Regions II, V, CARAGA, and BARMM. 

Meanwhile, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has underscored the national government’s commitment to advance programs that are anchored on addressing the challenges in achieving the holistic food security agenda.

(President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his keynote speech as he leads the launch of the 'Walang Gutom 2027' agenda/Screengrab from RTVM)

“It has become a priority of this government that we will fight all [kinds] of poverty… So that one day we can say that we are able to give our people, at the very least, the food that they need to surviveーthe nutrition that they need to survive,” said President Marcos Jr. 

“It is not enough that we just provide all kinds of food, but also that it is of a nutritional value that will allow, especially our children and our nursing mothers to become a center of healthful life for their children, for their families, and for their communities. That is what we are hoping to achieve in this Administration, that by the end of 2028, we can say that we have done everything to reduce the hunger and poverty in the country and to be able to ensure that we can provide a good, healthy, and productive life for our people,” he concluded. 

In addition, the national chief executive led the distribution of the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card among the ten representatives of the family beneficiaries in the city. This will serve as a unified card that the beneficiaries can use to avail of their food credits and other monetary-based assistance. 

(President Marcos Jr. leads the distribution of the electronic benefit transfer card among the representatives of the family beneficiaries in Tondo, Manila/Screengrab from RTVM)

Joining the President in gracing the program launch was Vice President and Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Sara Duterte, Asian Development Bank Country Director Pavit Ramachandran, World Food Program Country Director Brenda Barton, Labor and Employment Department Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma, and Manila City Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan. (PIA-NCR) 

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Janna Marie Pineda

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