President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday keynoted the 2nd Busog, Lusog Talino (BLT) School Feeding Program Excellence Awards organized by the Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City.
The Jollibee Group, led by chairman Tony Tan Caktiong, recognized schools that showed exemplary performance in implementing the BLT School Feeding Program, which aims to address malnutrition among grade school pupils in public schools by providing them nutritious meals daily.
In his speech, President Aquino underscored the importance of keeping schoolchildren healthy to enable them to perform well in school.
“Alam naman po natin: Dahil wala pang muwang at hindi pa sapat ang kakayahan ng kabataan, responsibilidad nating alagaan sila. Kapag nagpabaya tayo sa paghubog sa kanila, ay para na rin nating binabalewala ang kinabukasan ng ating bansa,” he said.
“Di po ba, darating ang araw na sila naman ang gagawa ng mga desisyong makakaapekto sa mga susunod na henerasyon? Ang ating tungkulin: Siguruhing handa sila pagdating ng panahong iyon,” he added.
The Chief Executive further cited his administration’s efforts in improving the education sector, particularly in addressing the shortage in classrooms, teachers, classroom chairs, and textbooks.
He said the Department of Social Welfare and Development is also conducting a Supplementary Feeding Program, which has benefited some 1.77 million pupils in day-care centers.
He also noted the deworming program of the Department of Health, which he said has so far benefitted some 11.5 million children enrolled in public elementary schools.
The President then lauded JGF for its program as it helps the government address the country’s problem of hunger and malnutrition in schools.
“May mga kabataang napagkakaitan ng pagkakataon sa mas magandang bukas dahil sa kakulangan sa nutrisyon. Sa inyong dedikasyon at pagtutulungan, nabibigyan niyo sila ng pag-asa. Bukod pa riyan, nagsisilbi rin kayong mabuting halimbawa at inspirasyon sa ibang komunidad,” he said.
President Aquino also commended JGF’s significant contribution to the Department of Education’s School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP).
“Ikinagagalak kong ibalita sa inyo na nitong nakaraang taon, napondohan ang SBFP ng 2.27 bilyong piso, na nakapagpaunlad sa kalusugan ng halos 1.2 milyong mag-aaral sa 29,773 na paaralan,” he said.
The grand winner award went to the Daniel M. Perez Elementary School in Davao City for the SBFP Category; and the Francisco Laya Memorial Integrated School in Iligan City for the BLT Category. Each school received P200,000.
Regional winners for the SBFP category were the Taal Elementary School in Iloilo City, and the Vedasto F. Corcuera Elementary School in Davao City.
Meanwhile, regional winners for the BLT Category were the Bocohan Elementary School in Lucena City, the Rodolfo A. Medel Sr. Elementary School in Bacolod City, and the Bagong Silang Elementary School in Iligan City. PND (jb)