President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. officially launched the Food Stamp Program (FSP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Friday as he led the distribution of the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Cards to beneficiaries, paving the way for the administration’s ‘zero hunger’ campaign. 

In his speech during the launching of the FSP at the Teatro Nan Dapa in Dapa, Siargao Island, President Marcos said that he is glad that the government is finally distributing EBT Cards, a few months after it was pilot-tested on July 18 in Tondo, Manila.

The FSP is a flagship program of the DSWD that aims to decrease the incidence of involuntary hunger by improving the availability and accessibility of nutritious food for less fortunate households while helping address nutritional concerns. 

It provides cash-based assistance in the form of EBT Cards.  

President Marcos said that the distribution of the EBT Cards not only aims to achieve zero hunger in the Philippines but also to ensure that beneficiaries are healthy and strong enough to perform their daily routines. 

“Isinusulong natin ang ‘Food Stamps Program’ upang matiyak na hindi lamang busog ang mga benepisyaryo, kundi malusog, masigla at malakas na magagampanan ang pang-araw-araw na mga gawain,” President Marcos said. 

“Kaya naman, masaya ako at sisimulan na rin natin ngayon ang Food Stamp Program dito sa CARAGA!” 

“Gaya ng nakita natin sa unang batch na nakatanggap ng Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Cards, ang laking tulong nito sa ating pagsisikap na maibsan ang gutom ng mga mamamayan at tuluyan nang masugpo ang kahirapan sa bansa,” he added. 

At least 50 beneficiaries received the EBT Cards loaded with PhP3,000 worth of food credits that can be used to buy food supplies during the ceremonial distribution led by President Marcos. Records from the DSWD showed that there are already 100 FSP beneficiaries nationwide. 

Following the success of the FSP launching, President Marcos expressed his gratitude to the provincial government of Surigao del Norte for their warm support of the government’s program and the projects and advocacies of the administration. 

President Marcos, who visited the province for the first time since assuming office, assured the provincial government and the residents of Surigao del Norte that the government, led by the DSWD, will not stop looking for sustainable solutions to ensure their welfare and security. 

Surigao del Norte Governor Robert Lyndon Barbers was present during the distribution of EBT Cards along with Surigao del Norte 1st District Representative Francisco Jose Matugas II and Dapa Munciipal Mayor Elizabeth Matugas.  

With this, he ordered all government agencies to ensure the effective implementation of the FSP. 

“Tiyakin ninyong walang bahid ng anumang anomalya ang pamamalakad ng ating mga proyekto,” he added. 

President Marcos also expressed his gratitude to international partners as he emphasized that the FSP is a product of the government’s continuing and meaningful engagement with them, assuring them that the government will remain steadfast in creating more programs to alleviate the plight of the Filipino people.  

“Rest assured that your investments in the Filipino people will bring about the progress and prosperity that we all aspire for,” President Marcos told the international community in his speech during the distribution of EBT Cards. 

“With your support, I am certain that we can empower even more disadvantaged Filipinos to rise up and make a different course for their future – a future without hunger,” he added. 

Asian Development Bank Country Director Pavit Ramachandran, French Ambassador to the Philippines Marie Fontanel, and United Nations Resident Coordinator for the Philippines Gustavo González were present during the distribution of the EBT Cards. 

President Marcos also called on the FSP beneficiaries to use their EBT Cards wisely as he assured them that the national government will always be behind them, not only in chasing their dreams but also in fulfilling them.  

“Tandaan po ninyo: Sa itinataguyod natin na Bagong Pilipinas, walang gutom, walang gutom, at lahat ng mga Pilipino ay produktibo at may positibong pananaw sa buhay,” President Marcos said before concluding his speech. | PND

Photo Courtesy by PCO