February 3, 2012
GOV'T SHOULD TAKE STEPS TO ADDRESS HUNGER - ANGARA
Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on the government to adopt and implement aggressive measures in combatting hunger and reducing malnutrition following the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey showing an increase in hunger incidence during the last quarter of 2011.
About 22.5 percent of respondents (about 4.5 million families) said they experienced having nothing to eat, which is slightly higher than the 21.5 percent (about 4.1 million families) recorded in September.
According to the survey conducted from Dec. 3 to 7, severe hunger, also rose by 1.2 points to 4.7 percent or about 955,000 families. While, moderate hunger--having nothing to eat "only once" or "a few times"--dropped by 0.3 point to 17.7 percent (3.57 million families).
"This is a serious problem that we cannot downplay because the situation may get worse as the demand for food continues to rise exponentially. We, therefore, need to adopt hunger-mitigating measures that will target the country's absolute poor, those who have no means to buy food," Angara said.
"Moreover, there is a need to establish mechanisms and promote national policies that give incentives for maximizing agricultural production. This could solve the problem in two ways. First, by increasing food production to stabilize prices and prevent fluctuations in supply, and second, by raising the incomes of the rural poor who are often the casualties of hunger."
Angara also stressed that hunger gives rise to dire effects such as malnutrition, especially child malnutrition which is an obstacle to human development and national progress.
Angara continues his fight against hunger and malnutrition through the nutrition campaign he started dubbed, "OMG! (Oh My Gulay!)" which aims to encourage a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables among schoolchildren.
The campaign is in response to a World Bank report showing that the mortality rate for Filipino babies below 5 years old is three times higher in poor families than in rich ones. Furthermore, 3 percent of preschool children are reported malnourished, thus diminishing their skills development and hampering their learning process.
"Solving hunger and improving nutrition are key factors in eradicating poverty and fueling economic growth. It is as much an issue of economics as one of welfare, social protection and human rights," Angara stressed.