July 21, 2022

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Senate bill on zero hunger refiled 

A SENATOR has refiled a bill that mandates the government to ensure zero hunger in the Philippines within 10 years after the effectivity of the law amid threats of a global food crisis. 

Under Senate Bill 30, otherwise known as the Right to Adequate Food Act, the incidence of hunger in the country should be a quarter less than the level recorded at the time of its passage within 2.5 years. It should be reduced by another 25% after five years; another 25% after 7.5 years; until it reaches 0% after 10 years.  

Under the bill, hunger refers to a condition in which people do not get enough to eat that provides the necessary nutrients for a fully productive, active and healthy living due to the unavailability and inaccessibility of food.  

The global food supply shortage that affects us today is beyond our control because it is dictated by global market forces,Senator Ramon B. Revilla, Jr. said in a statement on Thursday. “But if we increase the local production of agricultural goods, we will become more self-reliant and maintain affordable food prices.”  

In June, former Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar warned about the impending food crisis brought about by the global food supply shortage, which is expected to become more evident by end-2022.   

Should the bill pass into law, the state must ensure that land devoted to food production is increased to 50% of all prime agricultural land in every region within 10 years.   

The proposed measure also requires the government to create a framework that will eliminate hunger in an organized strategic manner. A Commission on the Right to Adequate Food will also be established.    

Violators of the law may be imprisoned for a maximum of six years and fined with up to P500,000.  

In the 2020 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report, the Philippines had the highest number of food-insecure people in the Southeast Asian region from 2017 to 2019 with 59 million Filipinos suffering from moderate to severe lack of consistent access to food. Moreover, 15.4 million were considered to be undernourished. Alyssa Nicole O. Tan