Zero Hunger bill moves forward in Philippines

The National Food Coalition (NFC) of the Philippines – composed of over 50 organizations and federations with more than 10,000 members from the urban poor, peasants, indigenous peoples, fisherfolk and the middle class – is urging full support for a national Zero Hunger Bill.

Sectoral Representatives from the National Food Coalition. Photo: Astrud Beringer/FIAN Philippines

Sectoral Representatives from the National Food Coalition. Photo: Astrud Beringer/FIAN Philippines

Also known as the Right to Adequate Food Bill, it aims to end hunger in the Philippines within 10 years, enshrining food as a matter of legal entitlement. The bill was originally filed in the House of Representatives in early February, and moved to the Senate at the end of the month. Aurea M. Teves, convenor of the NFC and president of FIAN Philippines, said the Zero Hunger Bill will “establish the right to food as a governmental priority that will entail the adoption of a comprehensive food program, using a full government approach, backed up by necessary financial and other support.”

Previously, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has been working in close consultation with the Brazilian government and UN agencies – including WFP and FAO – to see how the success of Brazil’s Fome Zero programme can be adapted and implemented to support farmers and nourish. WFP and DSWD are pilot testing a model to empower small farmers to produce food for government social assistance programs.

 The NFC works to highlight the main drivers of hunger in the country are poverty, inequality and the resulting failure of the poor to access available resources. They argue that the bill could institutionalize the necessary means to make adequate food accessible to everyone, as it adopts a human rights-based approach to ensure non-discrimination, dignity and respect for all.

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