By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said that President Duterte’s economic managers are undertaking measures to address the issue of hunger in the Philippines, saying it has been a challenge for any administration.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo issued the statement after a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that more families experienced hunger in the second quarter of the year.
Based on the June 22 to 26 poll, SWS found that 10 percent or an estimated 2.5 million families experienced involuntary hunger at least once.
According to Panelo, hunger has always been a challenge for every administration, and even President Duterte recognizes it as one.
“Tinatanggap ni Presidente iyon. Doon sa SONA niya, ‘di ba sinasabi niya, na ito ang problema natin, may 6 na milyong Pilipino ang nasa poverty line, kailangang gawan natin ito ng paraan (The President recognizes it. He even said in his State of the Nation Address that this is a problem and that 6 million Filipinos are on the poverty line),” he said.
“It’s not only a latest challenge. That has been the challenge of all administrations in this country. We have to improve the lives of our countrymen. Majority of our Filipinos are poor – that has been the challenge of all administrations,” he added.
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The Palace official then said that there was poverty in the country because of the lack of income coming in.
“Kaya nga tayo may mga ‘Build, Build, Build.’ ‘Pag iyang mga projects na iyan kumalat sa buong bansa, ibig sabihin may trabaho ang mga Pilipino (That’s why we have these infrastructure projects across the country so Filipinos can have jobs),” Panelo said.
“‘Pag may pumasok naman na mga trade relations, ibig sabihin may pumasok ditong mag-i-invest, may pabrikang mga bago, may trabaho na naman ang Pilipino (When we have trade relations, that means someone wants to invest. Factories will rise, giving Filipinos jobs),” he added.
On Monday, Malacañang said that the second half of the Duterte administration will zero in on eradicating hunger in the country by 2030.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the June 2019 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey reinforces the government’s decision to step up its ‘#GoodbyeGutom’ efforts to address hunger by the second half of President Duterte’s term.
Based on the survey, 35 percent of Filipino families consider themselves as “food poor.” This is eight percentage points higher than the 27 percent families recorded in March 2019.
According to Nograles, even before the new poll came out, President Duterte had already directed members of the Cabinet to align the different anti-hunger and poverty-reduction initiatives of the various agencies so that government programs can be more effective and will have an impact on more Filipinos, especially children.
#GoodbyeGutom is the objective of the government’s Expanded Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP), a program involving several departments that will work closely together to eradicate hunger in the country by 2030.