Marcos calls for united effort to end hunger

Marcos calls for united effort to end hunger
SunStar Photo/Alan Tangcawan

PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, raised the need for a concerted effort to address the country’s problem of hunger and child malnutrition.

In his speech during the awarding of the Walang Gutom Awards (WGA) in Malacañang, Marcos lauded the local government units (LGUs) taking part in the implementation of projects aimed at ending hunger in their communities and achieving food security in the coming years.

“As agents of the government on the ground, our LGUs not only have a better knowledge and have good insights on the incidence of hunger in their localities but also provide — maybe perhaps better programs, better strategies, or approaches to address hunger, specific to the areas that their constituents lie,” he said.

He, however, said that through the continuous cooperation of the national government, LGUs, non-government organizations, as well as various international agencies, the challenges the country faces due to hunger can be overcome.

“So now I invite all our LGUs to look at these outstanding programs of our nominees. See how and why their programs worked, and examine whether you can adopt or improve these further to apply them in your communities. The national government will also be taking notes to see what more can be done at the national level,” the President said.

“So our takeaway from this event should be that each and every one of us can contribute to the success of our campaign against hunger. If we are truly to succeed in this endeavor, we must put in a whole-of-nation approach to create a lasting solution to this great challenge. I call upon our government and our partners from the private sector, from the non-profit organizations, citizens, our friends from the international community, and citizens to work together as a united front and Walang Gutom advocates,” he added.

The WGA is a collaboration of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Galing Pook Foundation, which aims to acknowledge and encourage LGUs’ community engagement, innovation, resilience, sustainability and efficiency in service delivery.

Topping the WGA on the barangay level were Commonwealth, Quezon City followed by Naggasican, Santiago City, Isabela.

At the municipality level, the awardees were Asuncion, Davao del Norte; Palompon, Leyte; and Bacnotan, La Union. At the city level, the awardees were Kidapawan City in Cotabato province, Bago City and Cadiz City in Negros Occidental, and Mati City in Davao Oriental.

The province of Biliran was also awarded.

At least P2 million worth of Sustainable Livelihood Program Funds were given to winners. The remaining finalists received P1 million.

3 million

According to data from the DSWD, nearly 12 percent of Filipino families, or around three million households, still experienced hunger at least once over the last three months of 2022.

The agency noted that one in three Filipino children under five years old still suffers from stunted growth due to malnutrition.

Marcos said the country’s ranking in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) is far from ideal, with a score of 14.8, indicating moderate hunger, which is below the regional score of 8.2 for East and Southeast Asia.

Earlier, Marcos issued Executive Order (EO) No. 44, declaring the Walang Gutom program a flagship initiative of the administration in its bid to end hunger in the country by 2028 and ensure that everyone enjoys a good, healthy, and productive life.

The EO also tasked the DSWD to work with other national government agencies (NGAs) and LGUs, and for the NGAs and all participating LGUs to provide full support and cooperate with the DSWD to ensure the effective implementation of the program.

Under the administration’s Walang Gutom Program, the DSWD earlier launched the food stamp program, enabling beneficiaries to purchase nutritious food items from DSWD-accredited retail partners.

Earlier, the DSWD stated that the food stamp program includes a condition where beneficiaries are required to participate in labor-capacity building efforts, aiming to prevent heavy dependence on government assistance similar to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Some 4Ps beneficiaries decline removal from the list despite eligibility for graduation. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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