DSWD vows to push anti-hunger programs

As more than 7 million Filipino households have experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) expressed Tuesday its unwavering commitment to implement programs that would reduce hunger, particularly its provision of family food packs (FFPs) and other food items to towns and cities amid the continued threat of COVID-19.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said the agency took note of the Social Weather Stations survey, which was conducted from September 17 to 20 among 1,249 respondents, showing that an estimated 7.6 million households experienced involuntary hunger or hunger due to lack of food to eat. 

"Una sa lahat, kinikilala ng ahensya ang resulta ng survey na isinigawa ng Social Weather Stations na nagpapakita na tumaas ang bilang ng nagugutom sa nakalipas na buwan. Maari itong maiugnay sa patuloy na nararanasan nating pandemya,” he said in a virtual press briefing. 

(First of all, the agency recognizes the result of the survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations showing that the number of starving families has increased in the past months. This can be linked to the ongoing pandemic that we are continuously experiencing.)

He explained that the country’s response to increasing rate of hunger lies not only on the shoulders of one agency, but on the government as a whole, led by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger, which was created by President Duterte on January 10, 2020 through Executive Order No. 101.

The task force is chaired by the Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles and vice-chaired by Bautista and Agriculture Secretary William Dar. 

Bautista said the DSWD ensures that it is carrying out its mandate to contribute to the government’s efforts to address the hunger. Aside from SAP, the DSWD is continuously implementing programs aimed at helping poor families sustain their daily needs.

He said under Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program, the agency has extended medical, burial, food and transportation assistance worth P1.9 billion to more 400,000 individuals. He also noted that over 2.8 million indigent senior citizens have received their social pension, amounting to P8.5 billion.