Congress of the Philippines

07/15/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/14/2019 23:32

Creation of Office of National Food Security raised

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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Creation of Office of National Food Security raised
15 July 2019 01:29:56 PM

A bill seeking to create the Office of National Food Security under the Office of the President has been filed at the House of Representatives.

Authored by Rep. Precious Hipolito-Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), House Bill 1350 envisions the proposed Office of National Food Security to ensure food sufficiency in the country. The office shall be determined and undertaken by the National Food Authority (NFA), in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The measure also provides for the establishment of a Food Security Fund in the amount of P20 billion to be administered by the Office of National Food Security. The fund shall support and co-finance projects that enable the government to expand its ability to conduct activities and programs that address food scarcity.

The Fund, which is a special account, shall be sourced from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). Hipolito-Castelo said that as it stands, funding from the PAGCOR and PCSO effect redundant allocations to other departments such as the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Health (DOH).

'Hence, if specific allocations from these two revenue-generating agencies were allocated where there is more pressing need such as food sufficiency, then the government could achieve food security,' Hipolito-Castelo said.

She said whatever food sufficiency program in place by the government needs an upgrade with the Philippines breaching the 100 million mark in terms of population.

'Citing Senator Grace Poe, there is a need for the comprehensive re-engineering of the government's policies on hunger and malnutrition, given that at least 9.3 million Filipino families considered themselves as 'food-poor' and 7.36 million children below the age of five were malnourished,' she said.

Further citing Poe, Hipolito-Castelo said that despite the reported economic growth of the country, hunger was evident not just in official statistics but in the streets.

In 2014, a survey on hunger by the Social Weather Station revealed that around 12. 1 million families considered themselves poor.

The poll also found out that 55 percent of the respondents considered themselves poor, which is three points higher than the 52 percent average in the four quarters of 2013.

'In order to achieve lasting food sufficiency program, there should be a government office that would exclusively zero in on food security and tasked to guarantee food security throughout the land,' Hipolito-Castelo said./ Czarina Engracia / News and Documentation Section-Press and Public Affairs Bureau / House of Representatives of the Philippines