ILOILO CITY, Aug. 11— Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles on Friday dismissed fears that his proposed Zero Hunger Bill will pave the way for the abolition of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
He said, that on the contrary, his Right to Adequate Food Bill will strengthen and enhance the existing anti-hunger programs of the national government being implemented by different national government agencies, including the Departments of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and of Education (DepEd), among others.
In a press conference at West Visayas State University-Lapaz Campus here Friday afternoon, Nograles said the Right to Adequate Food Bill will strengthen the DSWD’s 4Ps or Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and institutionalize the government feeding programs.
DSWD’s 4Ps is a human development measure of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to the poorest of the poor, to improve the health, nutrition, and the education of children aged 0-18.
The Supplemental Feeding Program, on the other hand, is the provision of food in addition to the regular meals of target children as part of DSWD’s contribution to the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) program of the government.
Parents prepare the hot meals (rice and viand) served to children during snack or mealtime for at least five to seven days a week for 120 days, or four months. The beneficiaries are children age 2-4 years old in supervised neighborhood play (SNP), 4 years old children enrolled in Children Development Center (CDC), and 5 years old children not enrolled in DepEd preschool centers but enrolled in CDC.
The DepEd, on its part, implements feeding program for Grade 1 to 3 pupils.
But DSWD programs cover all sectors in our society and all aspects of poverty, he said.
“There should be an office that will be solely for hunger,” he said.
Under the bill, the Commission on the Right to Adequate Food will be created under the Office of the President. The commission, with the President overseeing it, will focus and coordinate a whole-of-government approach to address hunger in the country in a period of 10 years, with a target of reducing the incidence of hunger at 25 percent in every two and a half years.
While hunger is tied to poverty, Nograles stressed that his bill is focused solely on eradicating hunger, and providing a comprehensive framework that will ensure that the State fulfill a Filipino’s right to adequate food.
The right to adequate food, according to his bill, is the right to have regular, permanent and unrestricted access either directly or by means of financial purchases, to quantitatively and qualitatively adequate, sufficient and safe food, corresponding to the cultural traditions of the people, to which a person belongs and which ensure physical and mental, individual and collective, fulfilling and dignified life, free of fear.
Nograles said a comprehensive framework law is essential to make the right to adequate food meaningful as it will harmonize provisions of all laws related to Filipino’s right to adequate food and clarify the scope and content of the right, establish standards of compliance, lay down principles to shape the process of realization, and prohibit violations of the right to adequate food.
He likened the approach to eradicate hunger to the program successfully implemented in Brazil.
Co-authored by Rep. Jericho Jonas Nograles, the bill is currently in House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, which Rep. Karlo chairs.