Statement of CHR Spokesperson, Atty Jacqueline Ann de Guia, on the government’s commitment to prioritise food security and food production while addressing the pandemic

Statement of CHR Spokesperson, Atty Jacqueline Ann de Guia, on the government’s commitment to prioritise food security and food production while addressing the pandemic

The Commission on Human Rights welcomes the pronouncement of Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles—Chair of the government’s Zero Hunger Task Force and Co-Chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF)—on the government’s plan to roll out its National Food Policy in October 2020, alongside the government’s Covid-19 response.

With or without the pandemic, the Commission is in full support of strategies that are geared towards eradicating hunger and achieving food security in the country. We have previously expressed concern over the impacts of Covid-19 on the nutrition status of Filipinos, and continuously underscored the State’s responsibility to ensure respect, protection, and promotion of the human right to food and all related human rights in decisions taken to contain the pandemic.

In adopting such policy, we urge our line agencies to guarantee that all facets of the implementation are coherent with the principles of economic, social, and cultural rights, and ensure that these actions do not have discriminatory effect, especially on the most marginalised and disadvantaged sectors of society.

Realising the basic right to food goes hand in hand with upholding people’s rights to life, health, adequate standard of living, and healthy and functional environment. Resorting to more sustainable ways of food production is crucial in alleviating the problem of hunger.

In line with today’s celebration of the the first ever observance of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, 29 September 2020, it is equally important to highlight the pressing need to transform the way we produce and consume food. Globally, food waste is a huge problem costing billions of dollars annually and contributes to the increasing greenhouse gas emissions, which worsens the existing climate crisis.

While we recognise the work of the National Task Force on Zero Hunger, the Commission continues to push for the passage of the Zero Hunger Bill for stronger protection of Filipino’s right to adequate food.

Nonetheless, we have high hopes for the National Food Policy that it would pave the way for achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 2 of zero hunger in the Philippines by 2030. ###