Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. This seems to be the Liberal Party’s strategy as they imitate Sen. Poe’s advocacies- food security and child malnutrition.
Establishing a feeding program was part of Sen. Poe’s platform when she first ran as Senator in 2013, when she stated that “We should have a more comprehensive and standardized feeding program for children of poor families.” She immediately filed the Sustansya sa Batang Pilipino Act or Senate Bill 79 as one of her first bills.
She followed it up in 2014 with a privilege speech entitled Sustansya sa Batang Pilipino, Ngayon Na! In her speech, Sen. Poe lamented that malnutrition was not a government priority. Sen. Poe then extended her advocacy and filed SB No. 2755 or the “First 1,000 days bill” which seeks to provide Filipino children full protection and support from day one in the womb until they reach the age of two. Sen. Poe has also spoken about Food Security in forums.
So there are three advocacies associated with Sen. Poe: “Feeding Program” ,”First 1,000 days” and Food Security”.
These advocacies were never pushed before by the Liberal Party’s leadership. However, in the 2015 budget, the Liberal Party suddenly decided to allocate Php 217 million to a “First 1,000 days” program under the National Nutrition Council- an attached agency of the Department of Health.
Then, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo suddenly filed a “National Food Security Bill”- basically a national FEEDING PROGRAM with supplied to be sourced from local farmers. This concept is already covered in Section 9 of Sen. Poe’s Senate Bill No. 79- which states that the Department of Agriculture shall identify farmers and farmers’ organizations who can supply foodstuffs where the feeding program shall be implemented.
It should be worth noting that Rep. Leni is claiming that her bill is better because it is not just a “feeding program”. Rep. Leni has done this before with the FOI bill- claim that her version is better than Sen. Poe’s, when both are essentially the same.