Pagkain Sapat Dapat! STOP HUNGER NOW!
Quezon City – On the occasion of World Food Day, 16 October 2014, the National Food Coalition, a broad organization of peasants, urban poor folks, women, and youth, calls upon the Philippine Congress, to pass immediately the zero-hunger bill — House Bill No. 3795 and Senate Bill No. 2137. The House Committee on Human Rights has already had its initial hearing on the bill, and has formed a Technical Working Group to further refine its provisions and the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food still has to call a hearing.
The National Food Coalition is fully aware and deeply concerned that the problem of hunger persists. The Social Weather Stations hunger survey among Filipino families in the second quarter of 2014 shows that 16.3% or about 3.6 million families have experienced involuntary hunger at least once during the period. About 13.5% of families have experienced moderate hunger, while 2.8% experienced severe hunger.
The state of hunger or the lack of proper nutrition is more graphically shown in the effects it has on children. The National Nutrition Survey of 2013 reports that 30.3%, or three out of 10 children 0-5 years old, are stunted. The Food and Nutrition Research Institute says that stunting results from “long-term food and nutrient deprivation that retards physical growth and cognitive development, and increases the risk to illnesses which may later affect economic productivity.” Wasting, or the low weight-for-height indicator, rose from 7.3 percent in 2011 to 7.9 percent in 2013.
The nutrition survey also reported that the prevalence of nutritionally-at-risk pregnant women remained high at 24.8% with pregnant teen-aged girls more likely to be nutritionally-at-risk at 37.2%. Nineteen out of every 100 pregnant women also were found underweight.
According to “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014” published by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the proportion of undernourished Filipinos to the rest of the population is 11.5%.
This hunger situation cannot continue said Aurea M. Teves, president of FIAN Philippines and convenor of the National Food Coalition. She said, it is contrary to human dignity and a violation of human rights. The government must take positive action to end hunger. The National Food Coalition urges the Philippine Congress to pass the zero-hunger bill immediately. This bill provides a legal framework within which zero-hunger may be achieved progressively. The bill also provides an explicit guarantee to the right to adequate food, and clarifies its content, which includes food adequacy, availability, accessibility, freedom from adverse substances, and cultural or consumer acceptability. The bill also enumerates the human rights principles upon which the proposed law is based, namely, participation, accountability, non-discrimination, transparency, human dignity, empowerment, and rule of law.
The National Food Coalition is urging the Philippine government and civil society to come together and resolve firmly, as a community, to put an end to the hunger, which ultimately takes its toll on human dignity.
National Food Coalition
91 Madasalin St., Sikatuna Village,
Diliman 1101 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: (02) 351-7553
Aurea G. Miclat-Teves – Convenor, National Food Coalition
Atty. Bombi Sunga – Legal Consultant
World Food Day 2014
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