The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on third and final reading a proposed ordinance establishing a Free Youth Meals program in the city and appropriating funds for the said purpose.
Under the proposed ordinance authored by Councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales, it shall cover the provision of free daily youth meals to college students from low-income families and student assistance enrolled in any private or public higher educational institution in the city; provision of guidelines in the eligibility and application process for college students; provision of mechanisms in the determination on the duration of the food subsidy; the repayment mechanisms to concerned higher education institutions in the city and funding and sustainability mechanisms for the said program.
The ordinance aims to contribute and compliment government efforts to reduce or eradicate student hunger and discouraging students from disadvantageous, illicit and illegal activities for alternative sources of income while promoting proper health and nutrition to college students.
The ordinance tasked the City Social Welfare and Development Office to lead in the implementation of the pertinent provisions of the proposed measure.
The ordinance stated that any Baguio resident who is currently enrolled in any college or university in the city, including student assistants, are eligible for the free youth meals, provided that, the students belong to low-income families; students, upon the screening and recommendation of the CSWDO, is accepted considering actual life circumstances; students maintain passing marks in all subjects and students are not recipients of any city government provided subsidy.
According to the ordinance, the eligible college students shall ensure compliance to the requirements and application process such as the presentation of certificate of enrollment; proof of passing marks in all subjects; certification from the CSWDO as a proof that the student is not a recipient of any city government-based program; solo parent identification card if parent is a solo parent; barangay certificate of low income; PWD identification card if parent is a PWD; certification from the college or university if student is a student assistant; company identification card if working student and endorsement and acceptance from the CSWDO after screening and interview from social workers.
The ordinance stipulated that the allocation for the youth meals for an eligible college student shall not exceed P1,000 per month. Any unused amount shall be carried over to the succeeding months until completion of the current academic year.
The program shall accommodate 100 college students with the provision that upon the recommendation of the CSWDO, the subsidy can be increased annually but shall not be less than 100 beneficiaries.
Further, the applicability and duration of the free youth meals program to college students shall be exclusive for one academic year including the summer term.
On the other hand, the city government shall reimburse all youth meals consumed by the student-beneficiary monthly through a food voucher system. A memorandum of agreement shall be undertaken by the city government and the concerned higher education institutions for sound implementation and proper accounting.
The ordinance disclosed that an amount of P2 million shall be appropriated under the CSWDO for the first year of implementation of the free youth meals program.