For as long as anyone could remember, hunger has been a problem in the Philippines, especially in far-flung and rural areas. Children, and even adults, end up being malnourished and some even succumb to illnesses caused by poor nutrition.
To address this issue and with the ongoing health crisis, the government has rolled out a National Food Policy (NFP) to combat hunger in the country. But that is just the beginning of the many initiatives that will be undertaken by the government, specifically the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) and the Zero Hunger Task Force. (Read: 3 Organizations You Can Donate to for Children Going Hungry)
According to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who is also the chair of the Zero Hunger Task Force and co-chair of the IATF, the government will be implementing a program that targets children zero to 23 months old and nutritionally-at-risk pregnant women. The program plans to provide these individuals with micronutrient growth mixes and fresh produce from local farmers.
7.6 Million Hungry Families
In the third quarter of 2020, 7.6 million families experienced involuntary hunger, making it the highest number of Filipinos going hungry on Social Weather Stations records. The hunger trend has been rising since May, when more people lost their jobs and sources of income due to the pandemic.
Ironically, with this situation in mind, President Duterte said that the government can no longer provide food and financial assistance for the poor. “Problem is wala na tayong pera. I cannot give food anymore and money to people,” the president said. He added that the Philippines is not a rich country and has only little savings.