Executive order No.44 under the Marcos Administration seeks to address hunger and malnutrition through the FSP. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Information Agency.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. approved Executive Order (EO) No. 44 last Thursday, October 13, which puts the Food Stamp Program (FSP) as one of his top concerns. Said order took effect following its publication in a newspaper of general circulation on Sunday, October 15.
By adopting the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards in providing monetary-based support, the FSP attempts to reduce the amount of voluntary hunger endured by families with low-income.
For this to be properly executed, the Philippine government tapped the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the primary implementer.
“The DSWD shall undertake the necessary steps for the successful implementation and expansion of the Food Stamp Program, including, but not limited to, the identification of eligible beneficiaries and collaboration with relevant stakeholders to ensure efficient and timely distribution and use of food stamps,” the EO stated.
The EO likewise mandates the said department to establish the program's specific guidelines in preparation for the complete rollout of food stamps starting in early 2024.
Aside from DSWD, the government will also utilize other agencies such as the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
In a statement, the Palace emphasized that the program’s execution fits in with the Philippines' goal to attain Sustainable Development Goal No. 2 of the United Nations, which is to eradicate hunger, achieve food security, enhance nutrition, and support sustainable agriculture by 2030.
Furthermore, under the 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda and the Philippine Development Plan 2023–2028, the administration intends to guarantee food security and proper nutrition in the entire nation by providing all Filipinos with readily available, secure, and nourishing food.
Last July, the trial phase of the FSP commenced in five locations: Tondo, Manila; Dapa, Siargao; San Mariano, Isabela; Garchitorena, Camarines Sur; and Parang, Maguindanao and assisted 3,000 families. It was sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the French government for $3 million.