Press Release
July 21, 2022


In light of the impending food crisis, Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. filed Senate Bill No. 30 or the "Right to Adequate Food Act".

In June 2022, then Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar warned about the impending food crisis brought about by the food supply shortage being experienced globally which he said would be most felt toward end-2022. The supply issue is due to several consequential factors such as the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and months-long standoff between Ukraine and Russia that resulted in hampered exportation of agricultural commodities and high fuel prices.

The looming food crisis which is to hit the country most in the last quarter of the year, as then-Secretary Dar stated, will further exacerbate hunger and poverty being experienced by many Filipinos especially because the Philippines is import-reliant.

According to the 2020 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Philippines has the most number of food-insecure people in the Southeast Asian region from 2017-2019 with 59 million Filipinos suffering from moderate to severe lack of consistent access to food. Moreover, a total of 15.4 million were considered to be undernourished.

In response to the perennial problem of hunger in the country that becomes worse each year, and which has been compounded by the pandemic, wars and climate change, Sen. Revilla's filed bill, when enacted, will directly address the grave statistics of hunger and food insecurity in the country. Aside from setting conceptual framework for the right to adequate food, the bill also intends to establish governmental obligations for the State to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to adequate food and food sovereignty. The measure creates a direct obligation on part of the State to take necessary action to mitigate and alleviate hunger in the country, even in times of disasters.

The bill also sets implementation targets by mandating the government to ensure that 2.5 years after the effectivity of the Act, the incidence of hunger should be reduced by 25% from the level recorded at the time of its passage; reduced by another 25% after 5 years; reduced again by another 25% after 7.5 years; and finally 0% hunger incidence 10 years after the enactment of the law.

Sen. Revilla also explained that to directly address the food shortage, it is important to future-proof the country's agricultural stability by ramping on local production.

"Ang global food supply shortage na nakakaapekto sa atin ngayon ay beyond our control dahil ito ay dictated ng global market forces. Pero kung itataas natin ang local production ng agricultural goods, mas magiging self-reliant tayo at mapapanatili ang abot-kayang presyo ng pagkain", Sen. Revilla said further.

The solon earlier filed the "Pantawid Magsasakang Pilipino Act" which aims to provide conditional cash transfer to poor rice farming households. The amount of the cash grant shall be sourced from the amount of annual tariff revenues from rice importation in excess of P10 billion and shall be determined depending on the number of eligible beneficiaries and the administrative and financial cost of providing the grant.

When this bill passes into law, many rice farmers responsible for the food security of the nation shall be incentivized and will be more motivated to increase their palay production. "Patibayin natin ang sektor na ito upang maging katuwang sila ng pamahalaan sa pagtugon sa krisis sa pagkain. Kakampi natin ang mga magsasaka, at kasangga nila tayo tungo sa mas maraming produksyon at maayos na kita", Sen. Revilla said.

Sen. Revilla hopes that the two bills will be passed into law to address the worsening food insecurity in the country and to finally achieve food sovereignty for all Filipinos in the future.

"Ang mas damang krisis sa pagkain sa dulo ng taon ay isang problemang kailangang agaran at direktang harapin. We must confront this crisis swiftly and effectively in order to mitigate its impact. Gutom at malnutrisyon ang kikitil sa marami kung magpapatumpik-tumpik tayo. We must brace ourselves by strengthening our local food production and making food available and accessible for all especially the poor", Sen. Revilla stressed.

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