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Nograles refiles measure seeking to end hunger among the poor

PBA party-list Representative Jericho Nograles has refiled a measure seeking to alleviate hunger and address malnutrition in the country though social transfer programs, public nutrition supplement, and regular feeding programs in schools.

House Bill 1532, also known as the Zero Hunger Bill, aims to harmonize all laws related to the Filipinos’ right to sufficient food as well as to “clarify the scope and content of the right, establish standards for compliance, lay down principles to shape the process of realization, and prohibit violations of the right to adequate food.”

It also seeks to complement government actions to help farmers manage the effects of lifting the quantitative restriction on rice imports and improve the country’s capacity to produce food.

“This bill will not only help us fight hunger but it would also provide the much needed lifeline for our farmers who are now reeling from the effects of the liberalized importation of rice. We want to harmonize all programs related to our desire to defeat hunger and increase our food production,” Nograles said in a statement.

“In essence, the measure seeks to institutionalize programs to make food a sustained priority and a legal right and not an object of charity,” he added.

Under the measure, the government is mandated to create programs that would ensure the reduction of hunger by 25% in two and a half years after it is signed into law and implemented.

Hunger is also envisioned to be reduced by another 25% after five years, and another 25% after seven and a half years.

After 10 years of implementation, the measure aims to achieve zero hunger among the poorest Filipinos.

At the same time, the bill requires the government to ensure that the lands devoted to food production will be increased to 50 percent of all prime agricultural land in every region within 10 years of its implementation.

Within the same period, the state should also ensure the steady increase of the following indicators:

  • Percentage of development of ancestral lands
  • Percentage of rural population with access to productive resources
  • Share of budget spent on programs aimed at creating access to productive resources
  • Percentage of budget spent on agri-research, agri-extension, irrigation, training, technology, credits and rural development
  • Percentage of rural female-headed households, or rural women, with legal title to agriculture lands
  • Percentage of public budget allocation for social transfer programs to those unable to feed themselves
  • Coverage of marginalized and disadvantaged population taking part in social transfer programs
  • Percentage of marginalized and disadvantaged population covered by a public nutrition supplement program
  • Percentage of population aware of available food and nutrition programs
  • Coverage of school feeding programs

Nograles noted that periodic reviews would be made to ensure the set targets are being met.

“In measuring the incidence of hunger, the key primary data sources will include national nutrition surveys, household surveys of the Philippine Statistics Authority, namely the Family Income and Expenditure Survey and the Annual Poverty Indicators Survey, and global hunger indices as benchmarks,” according the bill.

During the 17th Congress, Nograles and his brother, now Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, filed a similar measure but it made it through the House of Representatives. —Erwin Colcol/VDS, GMA News