Press Release
July 23, 2010

DA, DSWD and DOH Feeding Program,
A Barangay Nutrition Worker in Every Community
- Solutions To Abate Hunger

Senator Loren Legarda today said the latest figures on the hunger situation in the country necessitates that the government synchronize its efforts , especially now that we are facing disasters intensified by climate change.

Legarda filed Senate Bill No. 1347 which calls for the activation of the "Healthy Food for Poor Children Program" by mandating the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health to coordinate with each other and establish feeding programs in low-income communities and depressed areas.

"Although the government has several feeding programs, the spirit of this bill is to mitigate hunger especially among poor children and pregnant women. The added benefit is the assistance to local farmers by buying their produce without the added cost of storage and transportation to markets."

The Legarda bill tasks the Department of Agriculture (DA) to select farmers' organizations and cooperatives from which good quality fruits, vegetables and other healthy foodstuffs are to be purchased at minimal cost.

"As much as practicable, the farmers and farmer's organizations should be from the locality wherein the feeding program is to be administered."

"The Department of Health (DoH) is to be responsible in identifying the appropriate fruits, vegetables and other healthy food for the feeding program and shall recommend these for the Department of Agriculture to purchase. They shall also train citizens within their respective localities on the proper and healthy practices of food preparation and cooking"

"The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shall identify the community-based organizations who will be the recipients of the food assistance in low-income communities and depressed urban areas."

Legarda said, "Feeding the poor is a gigantic problem. The government must recalibrate its strategies to address this growing number of people who are not eating regularly by focusing on increasing agricultural productivity to secure food supply."

"A robust farm sector will generate higher income and new jobs for rural workers and guarantee affordable consumer products to relieve the burden of food-poor Filipinos."

"The poor, the worst hit spend 60 percent of their household budget on food, with 18 percent spent on rice alone "

Senator Legarda also filed Senate Bill No. 9 which strongly recommends that every barangay should have a "Barangay Nutrition Worker" who will be responsible in delivering nutrition services and other related activities such as community health, backyard food production, environmental sanitation, supplemental feeding and family planning efforts to his community.

Legarda concluded, "There must be a serious effort to tackle hunger and malnutrition at the grassroots level. I filed these two bills as a solution towards a well nourished population that would contribute to the national economic welfare."

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