Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles is expected to head the soon-to-be-organized Zero Hunger Inter-Agency Task Force. He told dzBB radio the task force – under the Office of the President – will aim to reduce hunger by 25 percent every two and a half years.
Malacañang has identified 31 provinces that would require the task force’s greatest attention. Duterte approved the creation of an inter-agency task force on zero hunger at the Cabinet meeting last April 1.
“The President and the members of the Cabinet recognize that we have to adopt additional measures to combat hunger, given how data show that it is a problem that cannot be ignored,” Nograles said. In deciding to address the problem of hunger more aggressively, the government cited data showing 2.4 million families experiencing moderate to extreme hunger in 2018. The same data also showed 13.7 million Filipino children are undernourished. “It is apparent that current efforts aren’t enough, and that at this point an inter-agency task force that can focus and align the different work being done to address the different aspects of hunger is needed,” Nograles said. “The ultimate goal of the task force is to totally eradicate hunger by 2030,” he added. Nograles said the administration is hoping “to reduce current hunger levels by 25 percent two and a half years after the EO is issued.” The next step is to cut hunger incidence by half in five years after the issuance of the EO, and reduce hunger by 75 percent within seven-and-a-half years, he added. The Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Agriculture are designated as vice chairs under the EO. Members of the task force include the executive secretary and the heads of national agencies, including the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor, Office of Civil Defense administrator, Commission on Higher Education chairman, Philippine Commission on Urban Poor chairman, Philippine Commission on Women chairman, Food and Drug Administration director general, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director general, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples executive director, National Nutrition Council executive director, National Anti-Poverty Commission lead convenor and Food and Nutrition Research Institute director. The task force will formulate a national food policy to ensure the attainment of zero hunger and poverty eradication, consistent with the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan. Nograles added it aims to also rationalize existing domestic laws, decrees, policies and issuances pertinent to the alleviation of hunger and poverty, consistent with international laws and treaty obligations. It will also identify and ensure institutional responsibilities of concerned government agencies. The task force’s primary responsibilities include monitoring of government’s compliance with periodic targets, policies and programs set under the EO. It will also coordinate with concerned government agencies and local government units, in consultation with civil society organizations, for the conduct of objective impact assessments on relevant programs of action.