By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that the executive orders (EOs) on water supply management and eradicating hunger have been approved in principle by President Duterte and would be issued soon.
In a media forum, Nograles said that Duterte has approved a draft creating a task force that seeks to eradicate hunger in the country by 2030.
According to Nograles, like any parent, Duterte cares about making sure that children get to eat three square meals a day.
“This is why the President will soon be issuing an executive order creating a Zero Hunger Inter-Agency Task Force composed of members of the Cabinet that will seek to eradicate hunger in the country by 2030,” he said.
“This is being done because the President and the members of the Cabinet recognize that we have to adopt additional measures to combat hunger given how data shows that it is problem that cannot be ignored,” he added.
The former lawmaker said that the government cannot turn a blind eye while 2.4 million families experience moderate to extreme hunger; while 13.7 million Filipino children are undernourished, while a fifth of children under the age of five are underweight.
“The Duterte Administration is committed to find a way to properly feed our people, just as it has taken decisive steps to address the water crisis. The EO on water has been approved in principle and should be released soon,” he said.
According to Nograles, the Zero-Hunger task force will rationalize existing domestic laws, decrees, policies and issuances pertinent to the alleviation of hunger and poverty, consistent with international laws and treaty obligations; and identify and ensure the institutional responsibilities of concerned government agencies.
It will also coordinate with concerned government agencies and local government units, in consultation with civil society organizations, for the conduct of objective impact assessments on relevant programs of action among other tasks.
Nograles will chair the task force with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Agriculture (DA) designated as vice chairs. It will be composed of 36 officials.
Meanwhile, the EO on water supply management will seek a review of concession agreements with water distributors while addressing issues on sewerage and sanitation, irrigation, flood management, watershed management, financing, and policy formulation and coordination.
Duterte earlier ordered a review of all government contracts entered into and remove onerous provisions that might be detrimental to the lives of Filipinos.
According to Nograles, Duterte is sill studying the fate of officials of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), but will reveal his decision on them on Monday.
“Magre-reflect muna siya (The President will reflect first). He needs more time for reflection. It will give him a chance to study everything. Yung April 15, April 22 na po. (The April 15 deadline is now April 22),” he said.
MWSS is under Duterte’s scrutiny due to the water crisis experienced in some parts of Metro Manila last month. On Tuesday night, Duterte threatened to replace all MWSS officials if the water supply continues during El Niño.