Press Release
February 24, 2010

Noynoy Aquino: "Freedom from hunger first"

Should he win the coming elections, the Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's administration will focus on the protection of human rights, particularity on programs that will ensure that no Filipino will ever go hungry.

"The first step has to be freedom from hunger," Aquino said last Tuesday in a presidential forum in Makati organized by the Commission on Human rights. "Once that is settled, the other empowering can take place."

"May tirahan ba? May damit? May paraan para matuto? 'Pag wala lahat 'yan, 'di tayo aabot maski saan," Aquino added.

According to a recent survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) conducted in the fourth quarter last year, the number of Filipino households experiencing involuntary hunger at least once in three months reached a record high of 4.4 million, or a hunger rate of 24 percent, which surpassed the 2008 rate of 23.7 percent.

Furthermore, Aquino said he does not agree that human rights should be set aside for national security considerations, stating even that the law must give higher penalties to agents of the state who commit human rights violations, as it is their sword duty to protect the people at all times. He said state agents who violate the human rights of their constituents are worse than criminals.

Aquino also said he aims to empower the CHR by giving it the ability to issue subpoenas.

The other attendees at the forum were Sen Jamby Madrigal and Ang Kapatiran Party's JC De los Reyes.

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