Duterte approves expanded anti-hunger program

Ruth Abbey Gita

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has approved the Expanded Partnership against Hunger and Poverty, a program involving more state departments that will work closely together to eradicate hunger in the country by 2030.

Duterte made the approval upon the request of Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles during the 42nd Cabinet meeting held at Malacañang Palace on Friday night, October 11, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

“Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles requested for the approval of the [Expanded] Partnership against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) which is geared towards addressing hunger mitigation, food security, and poverty reduction,” the Palace official said.

“This was approved by the Chief Executive,” he added.

In an effort to improve the government’s anti-hunter efforts, the EPAPH intends to add more members to its original agency members, which includes the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The other agencies that will now be part of the EPAPH are the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the National Nutrition Council, the National Youth Commission, and the Land Bank of the Philippines.

Among the priority programs under the EPAPH include provisions for the institutional feeding programs, as well as credit support, capacity-building, and productivity for community-based organizations.

The EPAPH will also push for nutrition education; establishment of agricultural facilities and technologies, food hubs, and other infrastructure facilities; mobilization of funding, technical and research assistance from development local partners; and advocacy and education.

In July, Nograles said the same “whole-of-government” approach that has been proven effective in other government initiatives will be adopted and applied to address hunger.

Meantime, Panelo said that Agriculture Secretary William Dar, during the Cabinet meeting, cited measures being undertaken by the agency to address the declining price of unhusked rice.

This comes after average farm gate price of rice grains dropped to its lowest in eight years, according to the latest weekly price monitoring report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The data showed a kilo of unhusked rice was sold at an average of P15.96 during the third week of September, down by 1.4 percent and 30.1 percent from week-ago and year-ago levels, respectively.

Panelo said the increase of National Food Authority’s (NFA) rice grains’ buying stations, issuance of NFA rice coupons, and investigation of rice cartels, and hoarding and price manipulation are among the actions being done by the DA to address the issue.

“The Philippine Center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization, Philippine Rice Research Institute, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), and the Land Bank of the Philippines allocated a certain amount of financial assistance to help our farmers,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)