13 January 2021

A year since its establishment, the government’s Zero Hunger Task Force (ZHTF) has been able to make positive progress in its efforts to address hunger in the Philippines––including the timely completion and launch of the National Food Policy––despite a pandemic that has engulfed the entire world and required the implementation of restrictions since March last year.

This according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who at the first anniversary of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger and the launching of the NFP document, acknowledged the valuable contributions of the task force’s member agencies and private sector partners.

“In a span of one year a lot of things have happened; from typhoons and other calamities that have hit our country to our continuing battle to address the COVID-19 pandemic,”

– Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles

“Despite all of these we remain hopeful and diligent in our duties to ensure that no Filipino will be left behind.”

Nograles, chair of the task force, enumerated the various initiatives successfully spearheaded by the ZHTF.

Among these are: (1) the launching of the NFP, (2) the creation of the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP), (3) the institutionalization of the Zero Hunger Programs Guidelines, (4) the holding of the Kasapatan at Ugnayan ng Mamayan sa Akmang Pagkain at Nutrisyon (KUMAIN) Webinar Series, (5) the Feeding Programs Initiative for the First 1000 Days of Life, (6) the launching of Pilipinas Kontra Gutom, and (7) the drafting of the Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Project (PMNP) Proposal for the World Bank.

These projects, particularly the NFP, are the products of efforts by the task force to exhaustively assess the country’s performance in terms of fighting hunger through a review of policies that prevent cycles of hunger––both at the national and local level––and identifying necessary interventions to reach a sustained level of resilience to end the country’s problem on hunger.

“By undergoing such, the necessary transformation of institutions is paved, again both at the national and local levels, to provide hunger-sensitive programs, activities and projects and complementary specialized external support needed are identified and pursued,” explained the former legislator.

The core message of the NFP, Nograles pointed out, “is to strengthen government agencies, both at the national and regional levels, and local government units to provide citizens necessary programs and interventions to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and attain sustainable agriculture.”

“This,” he added, “allows national leaders, local chief executives, partners and stakeholders to restore a stable development path in hunger stricken, nutritionally inadequate, and agriculturally handicapped areas of the country.”

“Despite all the obstacles we encountered on our first year as a Task Force, I am proud to say that we have achieved so much, but much remains to be done and our work continues; we need to stay ahead of the game to be open and receptive to adopt new technologies and know-how, and be constantly vigilant to emerging needs and to always respond in a timely manner.” ###

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