PGMA orders release of P1-B additional outlay for hunger mitigation program
Manila (7 November) -- With less than two months to go before the end of 2007, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo raised today the allocation for hunger mitigation measures by P1 billion for the remainder of the year in a resolute effort to boost the government's anti-poverty program.
The President ordered the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to immediately release the amount during the Anti-Hunger Task Force meeting that she convened at the Centennial Ballroom of the Manila Hotel this morning.
She said the additional appropriation would be distributed to government agencies directly involved in the implementation of the government's hunger mitigation program.
The hunger mitigation program is a two-pronged approach at addressing the unavailability or insufficiency of food to eat (supply), and the lack of financial resources (money) with which to purchase food items (demand), which have been identified by the Hunger Mitigation Program Framework as the two main reasons for the hunger problem in the country.
On the supply side, the mitigating measures determined to eradicate hunger would be by: 1) increasing food production through productivity programs including livestock, crops, marine regeneration (mangrove and coastal fishery development), farm family (i.e. Gulayan ng Masa) and irrigation; and,
2) enhancing the efficiency of logistics and delivery of food items to the end consumer through the development of more farm-to-market roads, full utilization of the Roll-On Roll-Off (RoRo) ports and terminals, increasing the construction of more Barangay Food Terminals and Tindahan Natin stores and the strengthening of school feeding programs.
On the demand side, mitigating measures include: 1) putting more money in poor people's pockets through aggressive micro-financing programs, more employment opportunities, livelihood and training seminars and the development of "other value-adding products" such as coconut for coconut coir and virgin coconut oil.
2) promoting good nutrition through social marketing information seminars; and 3) managing the population through responsible parenthood.
The President stressed that anti-hunger project implementers should focus their attention on the supply side as this would have the greatest and most immediate effect at ending hunger.
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, who joined the President at the meeting, presented his agency's update on the program which, he explained, was done in keeping with the President's directives.
According to Yap, the 2007 target of 3,000 kilometers of newly-built and renovated farm-to-market roads (FMRs) has already been met and that his agency aims to construct an additional 5,000 kms. of FMRs.
He added that 7,765 Tindahan Natin convenience stores are now operating in various parts of the country, serving some 7.7-million households around the country.
Yap assured the President that with the P1 billion additional appropriation for the hunger mitigation program, the government's target of 8,000 Tindahan Natin stores by the end of the year would be achieved.
Education Secretary Jesli Lapus also presented an update of his agency's contribution to the hunger mitigation program, saying the joint DepEd and DSWD Food for School Program (FSP) has already made an impact in the lives of the intended beneficiaries and will continue to provide nutrition for countless grade school pupils around the country.
Under the FSP, one kilo of rice is issued daily for 120 days to families who suffer from severe hunger and whose children are in pre-school and Grades 1-6.
Other government agencies involved in the program are the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), National Food Authority (NFA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Education, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and local government units. (OPS) [top]