Senate agenda: Child hunger and malnutrition

Jodesz Gavilan
Senate agenda: Child hunger and malnutrition
The latest national nutrition survey shows little progress in ending hunger among Filipino children


MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe will tackle the prevailing problems of child hunger and malnutrition in a privilege speech she is set to deliver on Monday, October 27.

Walang batang Pilipinong dapat maiwan at manatiling buto’t balat. Nagsisimula sa tamang pag-aalaga ng ating mga bata ang pangmatagalang pag-angat ng ating bayan,” the senator said.

(No Filipino child should be left behind and remain undernourished. Development starts with making sure that we effectively look after and take care of our children.)

Poe is the author of Senate Bill 79 or the Sustansya Para sa Batang Pilipino Act, which aims to provide meals for schoolchildren.

The latest National Nutrition Survey (NNS) of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) showed little progress in ending hunger among Filipino children. (READ: Last PH Nutrition Survey reveals little progress in beating hunger)

As one of the Philippine’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the number of underweight children under 5 years old should be halved by 2015. But the country, with 19.8% underweight children under 5 in 2013, is nowhere near the 13.6% target. (READ: What’s next for hunger and poverty after 2015?)

‘Zero hunger’

On October 25, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr also gave assurances that the 16th Congress – specifically the House Committee on Human Rights – will prioritize the passing of the Zero Hunger Bill. (READ: PH Zero hunger bill takes center stage)

The bill, if passed, will ensure the right of each Filipino to access the right amount food in order to end hunger in the Philippines. It also seeks to address the need for the government to adapt a “coherent and consistent direction” in attaining the goal in less than 10 years. (READ: House bill seeks to end hunger in 10 years)

According to the State of Food Insecurity in the World report of the Food and Agricultural Organization as of 2014, at least 16.2% of the entire population in the country suffer from hunger. –

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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.