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More gov’t agencies drafted into anti-hunger effort

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CABINET Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said Monday that the government will further expand its anti-hunger program by involving more government agencies addressing the problem.

“To improve government anti-hunger efforts…, the EPAHP (Expanded Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty) will be adding more members to its original agencies, which currently include the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Agrarian Reform, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development,” Mr. Nograles said in a statement on Monday.

He said the other agencies that will be involved in the program are “the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Science and Technology, the National Nutrition Council, the National Youth Commission, and LANDBANK.”

Mr. Nograles noted that recent data compels the government “to build on and step up current efforts to address hunger in the second half of the President’s administration.”

Mr. Nograles was referring to the June SWS survey that found 35% of Filipino families rating their food as “poor,” referred to by the SWS as “food-poor.” This figure is eight percentage points higher than the record-low 27% of families self-reporting as belonging to this category in March.

Mr. Nograles said that even before the SWS poll came out, Mr. Duterte had directed his Cabinet officials “to align the different anti-hunger and poverty-reduction initiatives of the various agencies so that our programs can be more effective and will have an impact on more Filipinos, especially children.”

He said the priority programs under the EPAHP are: “(1) provisions for the institutional feeding programs; (2) credit support to community-based organizations; (3) capacity-building and productivity improvement for community-based organizations; (4) nutrition education; (5) establishment of agricultural facilities and technologies, food hubs, and other infrastructure facilities; (6) mobilization of funding, technical and research assistance from development and local partners; and advocacy and education.”

Mr. Nograles also noted that “the same whole-of-government approach that has proven effective in other government initiatives will be adopted and applied to address hunger.”

“Millions of kids benefit from government feeding programs, but there are many more we still have to reach. We still have a lot of work to do,” Mr. Nograles said. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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