DSWD's food stamp program a 'band-aid solution,' says anti-poverty body

Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 26 2023 05:24 PM

People buy various meat and produce at the Agora Public Market in San Juan City on Feb. 21, 2023. Maria Tan, ABS-CBN News
People buy various meat and produce at the Agora Public Market in San Juan City on Feb. 21, 2023. Maria Tan, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) on Friday backed the "food stamp program" of the national government, but admitted that the initiative alone could not reduce poverty in the Philippines.

“Totoo naman, ito ay band-aid solution, sa tingin naman natin ay temporary solution while waiting doon sa pag-integrate ng mga solusyon para mabigyan ng sustainable solution na ang mga problema na iyan," South Cotabato Governor and NAPC Vice Chair for the Government Sector Reynaldo Tamayo said. 

“Naniniwala ako na for the meantime kailangan natin iyan para maitawid lang then after noon pumapasok na iyong mga sustainable programs na sa tingin natin ay mas makatulong na lalo sa mga pamilya,” he said in a press conference. 

(It is true that this is a band-aid solution, we think this is a temporary solution while waiting for the sustainable solution on that problem. I believe that in the meantime, we need that, after which sustainable program which we think would help families better could come in.) 

The food stamp program aims to curb involuntary hunger among the poorest Filipinos by giving them P3,000 worth of electronic credits they can use to purchase from a select list of food commodities from retailers accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). 

While it is an attached agency of DSWD, the NPAC said it was not part of the implementation of the program.

But the body said it would make sure that the right beneficiaries would be picked. 

The DSWD said the food stamp would complement other existing projects, including the supplementing feeding program and the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). 

A sectoral representative from the non-government organizations (NGOs), meanwhile, said the government should also tap other sectors to be part of the program. 

“We pray, this time we buy the product of our small farmers, the products of the workers in the informal sector, the product of the basic sector. Bring it to a center, a Kadiwa o whatever and then give it to the hungry families,” NGO sectoral representative Richard Paul Paraguya said.

Watch more News on iWantTFC