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Claim: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. approved a new hunger alleviation program under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with a budget of P40 billion.
Why we fact checked this: A YouTube video posted on May 24 bears the title, “PBBM 40 BILLION PESOS PROGRAM PIRMADO NA! END HUNGER AND POVERTY FOOD STAMP FOR 1M HOUSEHOLDS” (PBBM 40 BILLION PESOS PROGRAM IS NOW SIGNED! END HUNGER AND POVERTY FOOD STAMP FOR 1M HOUSEHOLDS). It has 140,000 views as of writing.
In the video, the narrator says: “According po sa ating DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian, ang budget nito, guys, for our new program na food stamps ay P40 billion.”
(According to our DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian, the budget for this new food stamp program is P40 billion.)
The facts: What Marcos approved was Executive Order (EO) 27 reorganizing the Inter-agency Task Force on Zero Hunger. It does not specify the food stamp program nor its funding. Following the issuance of the EO, DSWD announced details of the program called Walang Gutom 2027, which is still in the design stage and has not been allocated a budget of P40 billion.
In a press briefing in Malacañang last May 23, Gatchalian said that the P40 billion figure is DSWD’s current rough estimate for the program’s total run, including administrative costs.
The social welfare secretary also gave a disclaimer, saying that these are raw numbers and that the “detailed pesos and centavos” will be determined once the design stage is completed.
In an email to Rappler on May 29, DSWD further clarified that the numbers Gatchalian mentioned in the briefing are just estimated costs, and these might also change “as the pilot progresses and depending on the availability of funds.”
The department also explained that the P40 billion represents the “budgetary requirements to run the program for one year, with a target of one million household beneficiaries.”
ADB funding: In the same briefing, Gatchalian said that the six-month pilot run of the program has secured funding, which will come from the “close to $3 million” grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Asked where the agency will source the funds after the ADB grant, Gatchalian said the department is set to meet the government’s finance managers to explain the program. He added that there is interest from other development partners like the World Bank and other funding avenues to explore the program.
“So this is going to be a collaborative approach, multilateral in nature, not just solely by our own funds but by the greater international community who wants to help us end hunger in the Philippines,” Gatchalian said.
Design stage: Walang Gutom 2027 aims to alleviate hunger and poverty in the Philippines by providing food credits worth P3,000 to one million households identified as food poor.
The program is in the design stage until June. According to Gatchalian, the DSWD is working with the United Nations’ World Food Program for technical expertise, multiple consultants in his department, and the Philippine Statistics Authority to design the program. Once finalized, a pilot run for the first 3,000 families will be conducted from July to December before the program’s actual implementation in 2024. – Ailla Dela Cruz/Rappler.com
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