Poe: Chronic hunger is a violation of human rights
The prevalence of hunger and the accompanying effects of malnutrition in the Philippines are human rights violations, Senator Grace Poe said Thursday, as she urged the government to draw up strategies to tackle undernourishment especially among children.
Poe, a guest speaker at the 2nd Philippine Environmental Summit held at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City, said Filipinos have the right to be free from hunger.
“I believe that widespread and chronic hunger is a human rights violation. It is an affront to the principle of human dignity,” Poe said in a statement.
Poe has filed food-related measures at the Senate, including Senate Bill No. 1624 or the proposed Right to Adequate Food Act, which mandates that every Filipino should have equal, physical and economic access at all times to adequate food, or the means for its procurement.
Citing the 2015 Family Income and Expenditure Survey, Poe said the poorest 30 percent of families spend 59.7 percent of their income or more than half of what they earn on food expenses.
Poe, who earlier sought a Senate inquiry into allegations that syndicates at the National Food Authority (NFA) manipulate rice data to jack-up rice prices, said the “criminal” activity of these syndicates also “curtails the means of the public to be able to buy affordable food.”
The senator added that agriculture also plays an important role in achieving food security and in feeding the nation.
“We cannot afford to neglect the agricultural sector. Protecting and enhancing our supply of and access to food cannot be done without addressing the challenges faced by the agriculture sector,” she said.
Poe also filed Senate Bill No. 1512 or the Tulong Kabataan sa Agrikultura Act which seeks to give scholarship grants to agriculture students and provide credit and start-up capital for young farmers. She also filed Senate Bill No. 1279 or the Masustansyang Pagkain Para sa Batang Pilipino Act which mandates a feeding program for undernourished schoolchildren. /muf
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.