may08.2013Food program for poor Filipinos pushed | Hunger | Foods

MAY 8, 2013

NR # 3097

Food program for poor Filipinos pushed
A lawmaker today vowed to pursue a measure that will not only mitigate hunger among children and pregnant women but also nourish them with fruits, vegetables and other healthy foodstuffs. Rep. Ma. Theresa Bonoan-David said there is a necessity to boost the existing food programs of the government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Bonoan-David said hunger incidence among the Philippine poor is intensifying based on recent studies. “Food prices skyrocketed to unprecedented levels, making foodstuffs even more difficult for the poor to purchase,” she said. “Poor families usually resort to cheap, but usually unhealthy food just to pacify their children’s pangs of hunger,” Bonoan-David said. Bonoan-David said the vast majority of poor children in low-income communities and depressed urban areas are undernourished and sickly, preventing them from achieving their fullest potentials. “While it is not the policy of the State to promote mendicancy among its populace, hunger and malnutrition among the poor are defeating the State’s policy of protecting and promoting the right to health of the people and of instilling health consciousness among them,” Bonoan-David said. “Feeding the poor is a gigantic problem now which the government is increasingly finding difficult to solve,” Bonoan-David said. Bonoan-David cited the Fortune Center and Children, Inc., a non-governmental group that administers feeding programs to the poor in low-income communities and depressed urban areas. Bonoan-David said there has to be a concerted effort from the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DPWH), Department of Education (DepEd), and Department of Health (DOH) to address the government feeding programs. “There is a need to assist these organizations in their feeding programs without promoting mendicancy among the citizenry,” Bonoan-David said. The measure, which she hopes to introduce in the coming Congrss, shall assist local farmers in selling their produce without the added cost of storage and of transportation to markets. The measure to be known as the Healthy Food for Poor Children Program shall require the DSWD, DA, DOH, and DepEd to coordinate with each other and assist identified income communities and depressed urban areas to promote increased access to and consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods among children and pregnant women. The DOH shall identify which fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foodstuffs are appropriate for the feeding programs in a locality and recommend to the DA for purchasing. The DOH shall also train personnel or volunteers of recipients in the healthy preparation, cooking, and other healthy practices in the preparation of food to be administered in the feeding programs. (30) jsc

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