Press Release
July 9, 2015


As the country continues to face persistent problems of malnutrition and hunger, Senator Sonny Angara has filed a resolution to look into the unchanging patterns of malnutrition in the country and find ways on how to improve the nutritional well-being of Filipinos.

In his resolution, Angara cited the Food and Nutrition Research Institute's (FNRI) 2013 National Nutrition Survey which showed that 19.9 percent of children under the age of five are underweight while 30.3 percent are stunted and 7.9 percent are wasted.

For children aged five to 10, the 2013 FNRI survey showed that 29.1 percent are underweight, 29.9 percent are stunted, and 8.6 percent are wasted.

To address the prevalence of undernourished children in the country, Angara, during his days in Congress, authored the Early Years Act of 2013 (RA 10410) which, among others, ensures that adequate health and nutrition programs are accessible to young children and their parents, from the prenatal period to the early childhood years.

Angara has also been pushing for the passage of the Child Nutrition bill, which seeks to institutionalize a school feeding and child nutrition program throughout the public elementary school network in the country.

Under Senate Bill No. 202, the National Nutrition Council, Department of Health, and Department of Education (DepEd) are mandated to initiate, maintain and expand a system of distribution of milk, fortified snack foods and vitamin supplements to public elementary school entrants.

"The most effective means to combat child hunger and malnutrition is through the public school network where we could target children who belong to poorer families," said the lawmaker, who is a known advocate of educational reforms.

Currently, feeding programs are being implemented only in selected schools by the DepEd and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Moreover, DSWD's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program provides cash grants to families that send their children to school and health check-ups.

"It has long been recognized that the achievement of food and nutrition security requires a multi-sectoral approach. Presently, there are more than 20 government agencies, with no single lead agency, which ensures that nutritious food is accessible to the Filipino people," the senator said, calling on the government authorities and other stakeholders to take a more concerted effort in addressing food insecurity and eradicating hunger in the country.

"Given all the government-led initiatives and efforts to address food insecurity, there is a need to integrate these programs and ensure that they are maintained across time," added Angara, a co-author of SB 2137 or the Right to Adequate Food Framework bill filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago.

The proposed measure provides for a framework law that will help strengthen food programs and coordinate government's action to achieve zero hunger in 10 years.

Angara has also urged the government to ensure food and nutrition security given the higher risk of hunger and malnutrition due to natural disasters.

"The Philippines is vulnerable to a myriad of natural hazards such as typhoons, flooding, landslides, earthquakes and volcanic activities, which plunge Filipino families into poverty, hunger and malnutrition," he said.

"As we celebrate the National Nutrition Month, I call on the appropriate government authorities to take into consideration the effects of climate change, and to ensure food and nutrition security among Filipinos amid natural and man-made hazards and conflicts," he stressed.

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