MAKATI CITY - The Makati City government is planning to provide meals to public school students for free to alleviate the burden of parents and promote proper nutrition among young people.
In a statement, Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay said she has ordered education officials in the city to conduct an extensive study on how free meals could be integrated into her administration's current program, Project Free Relevant and Excellent Education (Project Free), as well as implemented in public schools.
Binay explained they intend to look into how they can use produce from organic gardens being maintained in the city’s schools in the preparation of free meals.
Currently, fruits and vegetables harvested from the gardens are being used for the supplementary feeding program for undernourished students.
Excess produce are then sold to parents and small eateries nearby, and the proceeds are used by the school to maintain the gardens.
“As a mother, I can empathize with parents worrying about being able to provide enough allowance for their children so they won’t go hungry while in school. But instead of giving them the traditional ‘baon’ in cash, we will give free meals,” Binay said.
“With this added benefit, we would lessen the financial burden of parents and, at the same time, address malnutrition among our students,” she added.
Binay has a daughter with Makati City 2nd District Representative Luis Campos.
The local government will ensure free meals served to students will be nutritious and balanced to promote their well-being and enhance their learning abilities.
“We will consult qualified nutritionist-dietitians in preparing the meal plan. We want our students to be well-nourished to have the energy and the mental acuity to perform well, if not excel, in class and in outdoor school activities,” Binay said.
The city mayor is hopeful that through the project, children will adopt healthful eating habits and refrain from buying street foods, which are unregulated and may pose serious health risks.
Binay also appealed to parents to complement the school project with their own efforts to make nutritious meals for their children at home.
“Proper nutrition should also be observed at home as well, to optimize the project’s health benefits derived by our students,” she said.