Gov’t, private sector join hands to address hunger

Gov’t, private sector join hands to address hunger

ZERO HUNGER. Inter-agency Task Force on Zero Hunger chairman, Cabinet Secretary Carlo Nograles, and representatives from different private organizations and NGOs, launch the “Pilipinas Kontra Gutom” initiative on Tuesday (Nov.10, 2020). The movement aims to free more Filipinos from hunger and achieve food security. (Screengrabbed from Cabinet Secretary live video)

MANILA – The Inter-agency Task Force on Zero Hunger on Tuesday scaled up its campaign to free more Filipinos from hunger and achieve food security.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Task Force Zero Hunger chairman, in a virtual launch of the “Zero hunger movement: Pilipinas Kontra Gutom,” said that apart from socio-economic challenges due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, “we are also battling an equally important fight—our fight against hunger”.

“Food is one of the most basic human rights and the lack of it—or hunger is one, if not, the greatest [violation] of this basic human right,” Nograles said.

Nograles said “zero hunger” is top 2 in the United Nations’ sustainable goals –– a challenge directly linked to other problems including poverty and climate change.

Nograles said hunger is one of the key priority areas of the government.

According to Nograles, President Rodrigo Duterte has created the Inter-agency Task Force on Zero Hunger to assess, coordinate and monitor government initiatives to ensure a whole-of-nation approach to eradicate hunger.

The government also launched the National Food Policy (NFP) on Oct. 6, in time of the World’s Food Day.

The NFP provides the outline of the national priority based on a comprehensive understanding of the country’s hunger problem and its related-issues while providing a roadmap of achieving zero-hunger, said Nograles.

Hunger during pandemic

Nograles reported that hunger incidence during the pandemic increased at 30.7-percent which is the highest rate since the previous record of 23.8-percent in March 2012.

Nograles said the government should not resolve the hunger issues alone.

“As we addressed the needs of providing food during these trying times, we also need to have a systemic and sustainable solution that engages our food producers, lawmakers, business and the general public,” he said.

“There is a need for a national movement aimed at inspiring and empowering individuals, businesses, organizations, and governments to make tangible actions towards ending hunger in the Philippines,” Nograles added.

Nograles said it is a call to come together as a nation to help save lives and change lives as he cited that “hunger is a persistent, complex, and multi-dimensional problem that we continue to face as a nation”.

The zero hunger movement urges everyone to partake in ensuring every Filipino family is properly fed, said Nograles.

The “Pilipinas Kontra Gutom” program is a multisectoral movement involving the government, the academe, non-profit organizations, private corporations, and the public, seeking to address issues related to involuntary hunger such as food production, food distribution and accessibility, and hidden hunger and malnutrition—including food shortages during times of crises.

Nograles pointed out that the program allows all organizations, companies, and concerned groups to contribute to the government’s anti-hunger efforts.

This includes supporting Filipino farmers and other food producers, advocating malnutrition, and providing relief assistance, particularly during a crisis or emergencies.

Nograles, meanwhile, thanked Pilipinas Kontra Gutom’s founding members from some of the country’s biggest corporations including Coca-Cola, Dole Philippines, J&J Philippines, McDonald’s, Metrobank, and San Miguel Corporation.

These founding members have initially pledged to provide 100,000 meals for identified communities in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other key priority areas through the Ronald McDonald House Charities’ McDonald’s Kindness Kitchen.

Some 3,000 infant kids will also be monitored under its anti-malnutrition program.

Members of the academe, non-government organizations (NGOs), and other private individuals are also urged to join the zero-huger movement and provide food to more Filipinos.

“Everyone must be involved, everyone must contribute so everyone will be able to partake of a meal so we can end hunger together as a nation,” Nograles told the public.

Under the movement, Nograles said the inter-agency targets to empower all food producers and boost their family income by helping them improve agricultural techniques and process as well as supporting them in product marketing.

Nograles said, “one farmer empowered is equivalent to one family uplift”.

The movement also targets marginalized families, he said.

“We need to provide food and nourishment on their tables,” he added. “One mini-pledge for one fellow Filipino, or adopt one community.”

Companies’ support

Jonah Pernia, Coca-cola PH public affairs director, pledged to provide 100,000 bottled waters to go with the meals.

“We will help with all the initiatives towards the zero hunger roadmap such as supporting farm irrigation,” Pernia vowed.

Meanwhile, Banjo Castillo, DOLE-PH general manager, vowed to pursue providing nutritious food to Filipino families as part of the Pilipinas Kontra Gutom initiative.

Raghu Krishnan, J&J PH managing director/president, committed to support 3,000 infant kids and provide nutritional packages as well as hygiene products for them.

Kenneth Yang, McDonald’s PH president/CEO, vowed to continue providing 100,000 meals to Filipinos.

Yang invited the public to join their cause by visiting rmhc.org.ph for contribution and other donations.

Digs Dimagiba, Metrobank chief marketing officer, pledged to provide meaningful banking to the Filipino people to sustain their needs during calamities.

The Metrobank Foundation has been providing financial assistance and other funding efforts amid the pandemic, in partnership with the government and other private companies. (PNA)

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