October 16, 2023
MANILA – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has issued Executive Order No. 44 making the “Walang Gutom (No Hunger) 2027: Food Stamp Program” of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) a government flagship project and appointing the agency as the lead 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,” Marcos said in the order signed on Oct. 12 by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin.
EO No. 44 also directs the agency to work with other government offices and local governments which, in turn, are ordered to provide the DSWD their full support and cooperation.
In addition, the DSWD was tasked to determine the “appropriate staffing pattern and corresponding qualification standards” for the creation of additional positions for the administration and operation of the food stamp program.
The department must also submit to the Department of Budget and Management the proposed changes in the agency’s organizational structure and staffing pattern.
The food stamp project aims to lower the incidence of voluntary hunger in low-income households by providing P3,000 in financial aid through Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, which can be used to buy selected food commodities from eligible partner merchant stores.
A whole-of-government approach is required for the program to succeed, as the EO itself noted.
Its implementation is in line with the country’s commitment to realizing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal No. 2 of ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture by 2030.
On top of this, one of the objectives of the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, which was launched in June, as well as the administration’s 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda, is to ensure food security and proper nutrition for Filipinos by providing accessible, safe and nutritious food.