The Philippines renews vow to fight hunger, poverty

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles led the opening of the 2nd leg of the Pre-SONA forum on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. (Photo from PCOO)

The Duterte administration continues to implement programs that aim to address hunger and help alleviate the lives of poor and the marginalized Filipino families, along with ongoing efforts to cushion the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

During the second leg of the Pre-SONA forum on Wednesday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said, “The Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger, which I chair, is now in the process of harmonizing government programs meant to ensure food security and reduce hunger so that we can say #GoodbyeGutom.”

He outlined developments such as the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) Convergence Program, which is now helping a number of farmers and farmers’ organizations amid the pandemic.

“Sa huling bahagi ng taong ito, lahat ng programa ng pamahalaan tungkol sa katiyakan sa pagkain at pagsupil sa kagutuman ay atin nang pag-uugnayin at pag-iibayuhin. [In the latter part of the year, these programs of the government on  food security and beating hunger will be consolidated and intensified],” he added.

The Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster headed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista also presented the Programs, Activities and Projects (PAPs) of the cluster that focus on providing social relief and assistance to Filipinos.

“The health crisis alone has created deep impacts on the economy, as well as our fellow Filipinos’ livelihood and well-being, with prospects of an estimated 10 million Filipinos losing their jobs, the repatriation of nearly 70,000 displaced overseas Filipino workers, and the increasing number of Filipinos experiencing involuntary hunger, among others,” he said.

“Gayunpaman, patuloy na nagtutulungan ang lahat ng ahensiya sa ilalim ng Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster o HDPRC sa pagbangon ng ating kapwa Pilipino mula sa krisis na atin ngayong hinaharap [However, agencies under the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster o HDPRC continue to work together to help Filipinos recover from the crisis that we are currently facing],” he added.

At the height of the restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Secretary Bautista stressed that the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and other similar initiatives have helped cushion the projected impact of the crisis on the economy.

The HDPRC chief also urged other Cabinet members to continue public service and ensure inclusive progress in the country through mutual support.

“To my fellow HDPRC Cluster members, let us continue to work together and remain relentless in our objectives to build a stronger nation with empowered citizens. The whole-of-nation approach and our mutual support will ensure that no one is left behind in our journey towards recovery from this crisis,” he said.

Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar lauded the frontliners of the cluster.

“Tunay na kagitingan ang inyong ipinakita upang masiguro na nagagampanan natin ang ating tungkulin bilang lingkod-bayan [You have shown real courage in performing your duties as public servants],” he said

He also noted the importance of providing an avenue for every Filipino to participate in governance as an evident sign of democracy.

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