More than a hundred local and national organizations launched on November 16, a national campaign to end hunger in the Philippines through a forum held at the Talamban Campus of the University of San Carlos in Cebu City. The idea, according to Pamela Baricuatro, executive director of the SimplyShare Foundation Inc., one of the initiating organizations, is to push for more attention to be given by the administration of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to the hunger concerns of the country. With the forum, the organizers kicked off a series of activities all related to what it called as the Philippine Initiative for Zero Hunger (PIZH) that would lead to the passage of a law creating the Zero Hunger Commission. If the hunger problem can be given attention at a level similar to the one given to the illegal drug problem, better conditions could definitely be expected for Filipinos experiencing the lack of food all these years, Baricuatro said. Hunger, according to the Manila-based Stop Hunger Now�Philippines (SHNP), is a serious health concern. The organization cited a 2013 report that linked the 31,000 deaths among children under five years old in the Philippines to being underweight which is the result of malnutrition. SHNP also cited the increasing number of Filipinos experiencing hunger in the last 15 years. It noted on the Social Weather Station report that found 18.3% or around 21 million Filipinos rating themselves to have experienced hunger in 2014, a big jump from just 8.3% in 1999. In contrast, SHNP said in its paper, countries in the ASEAN region saw the reduction of the chronologically hungry in their respective areas. Laos, it added, reduced its hunger rate by 9.2%, Vietnam by 75.1%, Indonesia by 43.8%, Thailand by 79.8% and Cambodia by 37.8%. Secretary Jesus Dureza of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the guest speaker of the forum, linked hunger to the peace problem of the country and presented the proposed solution to the twin concerns. Dr. Mario Capanzana, director of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, touched on the details of the hunger problems in the Philippines. Dr. Armando Parawan, Health and Nutrition Adviser of Save the Children, tackled the economic cost of hunger.
Source: Philippine Information Agency