Stop hunger now: 'Pagkain sapat dapat'
This is a public service announcement from the National Food Coalition:
MANILA, Philippines — On World Food Day, October 16, 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" bills or House Bill 3795 and Senate Bill 2137.
The bill provides a legal framework within which zero-hunger could be achieved progressively. It 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 — participation, accountability, non-discrimination, transparency, human dignity, empowerment, and rule of law. (READ: Hunger 101)
The House Committee on Human Rights already had its initial hearing on the bill, and has formed a Technical Working Group to further refine its provisions. Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food has yet to call a hearing. (READ: Zero Hunger Declaration)
The National Food Coalition is fully aware and deeply concerned that the problem of hunger persists.
As of the second quarter of 2014, 16.3% or about 3.6 million Filipino families have experienced involuntary hunger at least once during the period, the Social Weather Stations hunger survey showed. 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.
Three out of 10 Filipino children aged 0-5 years old are stunted or too short for their age, according to the 2013 National Nutrition Survey.
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,” said the Food and Nutrition Research Institute.
Wasting, or being too thin for one’s height, also rose from 7.3% in 2011 to 7.9% 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%. 19 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,” stressed Aurea M. Teves, president of FIAN Philippines and convenor of the National Food Coalition. “This 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.
The Philippine government and civil society should come together and resolve firmly — as a community — to put an end to the hunger, which ultimately takes its toll on human dignity. — Rappler.com
How else can we fight hunger, its causes, and effects? Send your stories and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be part of the #HungerProject.