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Romero seeks food stamps for poor households

June 20, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 177 views

‘Tap cards’ with P5K food credits

TO provide comprehensive assistance to the country’s poor households, 1-Pacman Party-list Representative Mikee Romero has filed a bill to effectively assist the disadvantaged sectors by tapping the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).

House Bill (HB) No. 8532 seeks to supplement all poor families’ intake and possibly diminish and, in time completely eliminate hunger in urban and rural communities.

“This comprehensive food stamp program, as proposed and executed in other countries, are actually agricultural programs. They aim to link rural surpluses with food-poor urban communities.

This way, we could effectively address both urban poverty and rural poverty,” Romero explained.

Under the bill, the DSWD should integrate its planned food stamp program with efforts by the agriculture department to expand the market for local farm products.

“As the lead agency in social welfare and development, the DSWD would formulate policies and plans which provide direction to intermediaries and other implementers in the development and delivery of social welfare and development services,” Romero said.

The proposed measure aims to create a comprehensive Food Stamp Program with the following protocol and mechanics: There shall be benefit cards or “tap cards” loaded with food credits amounting to P5,000; the beneficiaries can use the cards to buy a select list of healthy products from DSWD-accredited local retailers.

Beneficiaries can choose from a list of different food groups, and the program would be conditional and have a “work component,” signing up would need to find work to keep the benefits; and the beneficiaries are families whose income does not go beyond P8,000 a month.

According to Romero, the planned program targets at least 300,000 families by 2024 and hopes to increase the tap card recipients to one million in the following years.