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House panel OKs funding for ‘Zero Hunger Bill’

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By Ellson Quismorio

The funding provisions of the substitute bill of the proposed Right to Adequate Food Framework Act, otherwise known as the “Zero Hunger Bill”,  has been approved, House Committee on Appropriations Chairman and Davao City 1st district Rep. Karlo Nograles bared Wednesday.

The measure was among the series of bills given the green light by the Appropriations panel during a meeting at the South Wing Annex of the House of Representatives on October 3.

 The as yet unnumbered bill is a consolidation of House Bill (HB) Nos. 61, 256, 1465, and 3938.

 Davao City Rep. Nograles and his brother, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles, are among the main authors of the bill, which seeks to guarantee every Filipinos’ right to adequate food.

 “We will achieve this by formulating a framework that will coordinate efforts among the concerned agencies in implementing the ‘zero hunger’ policy of the government,” the Davao City lawmaker said.

 “The Appropriations Committee’s action on the Zero Hunger bill brings it one step closer to enactment at a time when the government is actually making gains on the problem of hunger,” he added.

 The panel chairman said the measure underwent minor amendments.

It was previously passed by the House Committee on Human Rights.

 Before the Appropriations panel approval of the bill, Davao Rep. Nograles led a public forum at Central Luzon State University in Nueva Ecija wherein he rallied local support for making the right to adequate food a human right.

 A good number of the attendees in the forum were farmers, whom the lawmaker called the most important people in the fight against hunger.

 The measure is aimed at attaining zero hunger incidence in the country within 10 years of its enactment.

Specifically, the proposed Act intends to reduce hunger incidence by 25 percent every two and a half years following enactment.

 The bill also provides for the creation of the Commission on the Right to Adequate Food, which will be the primary policy-making and coordinating body to guarantee full exercise of the right to adequate food.

 Incidentally, hunger incidence in the country has begun to drop in the first few months of President Duterte’s administration.

 Independent pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) earlier reported that 11.9 percent of Filipino households experienced hunger during the first quarter of 2017.

 This was lower than the 13.9 percent recorded in last quarter of 2016.

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