By PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
The Aquino government has assured that mechanisms and programs are now in place to mitigate hunger in the country, a Malacañang official said on Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda issued the statement in a press briefing in Malacañang following the release of the study conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) indicating that hunger remains a serious concern in the Philippines.
The Washington-based institute said that out of 120 countries listed, 41 had Global Hunger Index (GHI) scores of less than five and 79 had scores of five and above. Not included in the list were the more developed countries in Europe and North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
In the group of 79, the Philippines was in 31st place with a GHI of 12.2.
“I think if you go to through the methodology provided by the Global Hunger Index, it was a discussion of data culled between the years 2005 to 2010. It did not discuss the figures on 2011 or 2012,” Lacierda said.
“But nonetheless, just let me answer that point, currently the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) has been doing a number of programs to mitigate hunger. For instance, the DSWD has a supplemental feeding — that is directly given to 49,000 daycare centers nationwide and these are being prepared by the parents themselves,” he said.
Lacierda noted that many poor families are benefitting from the Aquino government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program.
“There was an impact evaluation by the CCT or the conditional cash transfer by the Social Weather Station and it showed that 30 percent of the CCT is used to buy food, particularly rice,” he said.
The government also started a process to enhance its sustainable development program to directly address the hunger situation in the country, according to Lacierda.
“Then we have the NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) Social Development Committee and the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster are jointly meeting to develop an instrument for early warning on critical areas where hunger exists. That’s where we monitor before it becomes a malnutrition situation, we are developing early warning signals on that,” he said.