More Mindanao Food Aid Urged

MANILA, Philippines --- The government has been asked to address the food problem affecting some sectors in Mindanao.

United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial candidate and former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to immediately attend to the worsening situation in Mindanao where victims of typhoon "Pablo" continue scouring for food.

Another UNA senatorial bet and Cagayan Representative Jack Enrile also emphasized the need to address hunger to mitigate the long-running conflict in Mindanao, in his visit to Cagayan de Oro.

"Based on recent data and despite the decline, there are still 963,000 families in Mindanao who are hungry." Enrile said.

Zubiri scored officials of the DSWD for failing to do their duty in providing continuous and systematic social services, particularly relief operations.

The senatorial bet was referring to last week's incident that occurred at the DSWD office in Davao City where typhoon victims raided the office and demanded for the release of more food aid.

"Obviously, there was a major lapse on the part of the DSWD and other concerned agencies in the implementation of relief operations," said Zubiri.

"While there's an apparent supply of food housed in its warehouse in Davao City, there was a failure on the part of the DSWD officials in the distribution of the said supply," he pointed out.

Instead of pursuing legal action against those who raided their office, he said the DSWD, which is tasked to oversee and distribute relief operations to the typhoon victims, should have instead doubled their efforts in the distribution of relief, while at the same time look into the root cause of the desperation of these people to prevent the situation from escalating.

"People were hungry, they have nothing to eat! There was no work available to them as most of the farms, mostly on coconut plantations, had been destroyed. Malnutrition among children have risen, with most numbered diagnosed with acute malnutrition ranging from moderate to severe," he said.

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