PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. should compose a food security cluster within his Cabinet to address hunger risks in the country, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.
“There are areas with food security that are beyond the mandate of the Department of Agriculture, which President Marcos heads,” Albay Rep. Jose Maria Clemente S. Salceda said in a statement.
Mr. Salceda said hunger rate will remain high due to food inflation, agricultural damage due to Tropical Storm Nalgae, locally known as Paeng, and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
“As long as hunger numbers do not see major improvements, and given global conditions, food security should be atop PBBM’s priorities, with agriculture and food trade being the most important concerns,” he said, citing the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey on hunger.
Filipino families that experienced hunger in July to September, the first three months of the Marcos administration, slightly fell to 11.3% from 11.6% in June, though this was equivalent to 2.9 million people, the same number recorded a quarter earlier, according to the SWS survey.
Mr. Salceda said several government agencies can deal with issues on food security and hunger in a “more holistic, whole-of-government way.”
“Whether we like it or not, for example, some 20-25% of our food is imported. So, the Bureau of Customs, the Department of Transportation, and the Philippine Ports Authority play a key role in getting food where it is needed,” he said. — Matthew Carl L. Montecillo