Ensure food security in Mindanao, solon asks gov’t

June 29, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 812 views

A lawmaker from Sorsogon has urged for the speedy passage of House Bill (HB) No. 1299, or the Right to Adequate Food Act, as he called for the strict implementation of the food and security roadmap for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

AGRI Rep. Wilbert T. Lee said the bill, once enacted into law, will greatly help to continue the decline of poverty incidence in the region.

Lee’s HB 1299 seeks to establish the framework for addressing hunger and provides the means through which the country can comply with international obligations with regard to the right to food.

“This bill will address ‘the constant change of priority platforms in every administration transition’ as noted by the food security and nutrition roadmap developed by the BARMM, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),” Lee said.

“As we celebrate Eid’l Adha, the feast of Sacrifice, I call on the government for the swift passage of measures that will guarantee help in ensuring food security for our Muslim brothers and sisters,” Rep. Lee said.

“Malaking bagay po na bumaba ang poverty incidence sa rehiyon, ayon na rin sa huling tala ng Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Pero kailangan pa rin tandaan na 37.4 percent ng populasyon ng BARMM, o katumbas na 1.71 milyon na pamilya, ay naghihirap,” he added.

Lee was referring to the 2021 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) of the PSA, which showed that 37.4 percent of people in BARMM were poor in 2021.

The figure translates to 1.71 million considered poor families or below the poverty threshold. Basilan recorded a 53.5 percent poverty rate; Lanao del Sur at 10.9 percent; Maguindanao at 38.0 percent; Sulu at 62.5 percent; Tawi-Tawi recorded 36.5 percent, while Cotabato City recorded 39.7 percent.

The Bicolano lawmaker said that the government should pull out all the stops to help BARMM’s target of lowering poverty incidence by 2025.

“May nagawa na pong food security and nutrition roadmap para sa rehiyon. Kasama po sa roadmap na ito ang improvement ng policies and institutions for food security.

Kaya naman kailangan na mayroong enabling law ito para maayos na maitupad ito, at isa na rito ang Right to Adequate Food Act,” he said.

According to the roadmap, “the integration of food security and nutrition (FSN) in programs and policies remains as a challenge in the national, regional, and local government, considering the dynamics in each government agency and other related sectors working on the implementation of various government programs in grassroots level.”