“Closer and more sustained cooperation with the private sector will further strengthen government’s efforts to address hunger and health concerns brought about by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.”
This was the key message of Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles during the Pilipinas Kontra Gutom (PKG) kick-off event last Wednesday, January 6, 2020 which was attended by stakeholders and program partners from the private sector.
The PKG is a multi-sectoral collaboration involving government, the academe, non-profit organizations, private corporations and members of the general public meant to address the root causes of involuntary hunger. Its objectives are strategically aligned with the aims of the Duterte administration’s “zero hunger” drive under the National Food Policy.
“We will formulate and urgently implement sustainable solutions to increase access to nutritious food, stabilize supply and improve the general food security situation in the country. Our initial priority involves hunger-stricken communities hard hit by calamities and the pandemic. We are strongly driven by the spirit of Bayanihan. We heal as one, we act as one, and we succeed as one nation,” the Malacañang official stressed.
Based on survey results of the Social Weather Station last November 21-25, 2020, around 16.0% or four million families experienced involuntary hunger, or those who had no or minimal access to food in the last three months.
“We have engaged and encouraged private sector participation in the PKG initiative because we are entering a crucial period where a prolonged health crisis brought about by Covid-19 can lead to a bigger food and nutrition crisis especially for economically-vulnerable Filipinos. We don’t want that to happen and we will prevent that from happening through this close partnership among stakeholders,” the former legislator said.
Nograles, who likewise heads the administration’s Zero Hunger Task Force as well as IATF-EID Co-Chair, also took time during the program to thank the country’s medical frontliners and volunteers who “selflessly sacrifice their time and lives to rid the population of the deadly corona virus.”
“We’re fighting different but related challenges now, aside from Covid19 there is also the compounded problem of hunger and malnutrition. While we wait for the arrival of vaccines, we repeat our plea for everyone to be extra cautious and follow all health protocols. Our success in all our ongoing endeavors relies on every Filipino’s discipline, hard work and full cooperation.”