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Agencies unite vs poverty

Kristina Maralit

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A program aimed in eradicating hunger by 2030 will be one of the key focus of the Duterte administration as it enters its fourth year, Malacañang announced on Monday.

#GoodbyeGutom, an initiative under the Expanded Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP), will be involving several departments that will be closely working together towards the government’s goal of eradicating hunger among poor Filipinos.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said efforts are being put in place address hunger in the second half of President Rodrigo Duterte’s leadership.

“The President had already directed members of the Cabinet “to align the different anti-hunger and poverty-reduction initiatives of the various agencies so that our programs can be more effective and will have an impact on more Filipinos, especially children,” Nograles said in a statement.

“Millions of kids benefit from government feeding programs, but there are many more we still have to reach. We still have a lot of work to do to make sure every Filipino child is properly fed, until we can finally say #GoodbyeGutom,” he added.

The Palace official also shared that during a pre-State of the Nation Address (SoNA) activity held in Cebu, Cabinet secretaries belonging to the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster reported that from 2018 to 2019, 3.6 million children had benefited from government feeding programs.

For school year 2018-2019, on the other hand, 2.1 million undernourished students were also the beneficiaries of feeding programs, while an additional 4.29 million children also benefited from cash subsidies for food from the government’s 4Ps program.

To improve government anti-hunger efforts, said Nograles, the EPAHP will be adding more members to its original agencies, which currently include the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Agrarian Reform, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The other agencies now part of the EPAHP are the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Science and Technology, the National Nutrition Council, the National Youth Commission, and Landbank.

Nograles also shared that among the priority programs under the EPAHP are: (1) provisions for the institutional feeding programs; (2) credit support to community-based organizations; (3) capacity-building and productivity improvement for community-based organizations; (4) nutrition education; (5) establishment of agricultural facilities and technologies, food hubs, and other infrastructure facilities; (6) mobilization of funding, technical and research assistance from development and local partners; and advocacy and education.

“The same whole-of-government approach that has proven effective in other government initiatives will be adopted and applied to address hunger.

The 2018 yearend data revealed that 2.4 million families experienced moderate to extreme hunger in 2018, 13.7 million Filipino children are undernourished, and that a fifth of Filipino children until the age of five are underweight.

#GoodbyeGutom