In a bid to fast-track the government’s campaign to fight hunger, the Palace on Tuesday drafted an executive order creating an inter-agency task force seeking to eradicate hunger in the country by 2030.
In a statement after a “serious and productive” 36th Cabinet meeting on Monday evening, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles introduced the EO, hoping to aid the government’s fight against hunger.
“Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles presented the proposed EO on the creation of an Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger. The task force will be composed of 36 agencies,” Panelo said.
For his part, Nograles said President Rodrigo Duterte approved the proposal during the Cabinet meeting, adding that details of the EO were being finalized before it is released to the public.
“The President and the members of the Cabinet recognize that we have to adopt additional measures to combat hunger given how data shows that it is a problem that cannot be ignored,” Nograles said.
Citing government data, the Palace official revealed in his presentation that 2.4-million Filipino families experienced moderate to extreme hunger in 2018. The data also showed that 13.7-million Filipino children are undernourished while a fifth of Filipino children until the age of five are underweight.
“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,” he said.
According to Nograles, the new 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.
The task force will 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 and adopt a whole of government approach to implement the directives of the EO, determine key indicators that are measurable in terms of periodic targets for achieving zero hunger and poverty eradication, and monitor government’s compliance of periodic targets, policies and programs set under the EO.
“The ultimate goal of the Task Force is to totally eradicate hunger by 2030,” said Nograles.
“We plan to get there eventually. Our first milestone is to reduce current hunger levels by 25% 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% within seven-and-a-half years,” added Nograles.
Under the proposed EO, the IATF will be chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, with the departments of Agriculture, and Social Development designated as vice chairs.
Members of the Zero Hunger IATF include the Executive Secretary and the heads of national agencies, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor, Office of Civil Defense Administrator, Commission on Higher Education Chairperson, Philippine Commission on Urban Poor Chairperson, Philippine Commission on Women Chairperson, 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 IATF 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.
They will also create technical working groups or ad hoc committees comprising of relevant government agencies and local government units, in consultation with non-governmental organizations, to effectively address particular concerns relative to the implementation of the EO, and adopt implementing rules and regulations to effectively carry out the objectives of the EO.”‹