Negros Occidental

2 Negros Occidental cities shine in national anti-hunger initiative rankings

Ambo Delilan

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2 Negros Occidental cities shine in national anti-hunger initiative rankings

ANTI-HUNGER. Bago, Negros Occidental Mayor Nicholas Yulo (2nd from right) with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and other officials after his city was recognized as one of the top local governments for their anti-hunger initiatives. There are nine others recognized by the national government.

RTVM

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rex Gatchalian says the winning initiatives will be used as templates for other local governments to follow

BACOLOD, Philippines – Two of the 13 Negros Occidental’s component city governments were hailed by Malacañang as among the top 10 local governments across the country as this year’s Walang Gutom (No hunger) champions.

Cadiz City’s Pagkaon Aton Tatapon or Project PAT and Bago City’s Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP) received the judges’ nod out of 101 entries nationwide, becoming two of 17 national finalists.

Both initiatives by Cadiz and Bago were anchored on a commitment to solving malnutrition, hunger, and poverty in their respective localities.

Malacañang awarded Cadiz and Bago, along with eight other local governments, P2 million each for their noteworthy anti-hunger and poverty initiatives during the 1st Walang Gutom Awards ceremony held at Malacañang on June 26.

The other eight Walang Gutom awardees and their programs are as follows:

  • Barangay Commonwealth, Quezon City (Resksyusi Food Basket Program)
  • Barangay Naggasican, Santiago City (Gulayan sa Bawat Bakuran)
  • Municipality of Bacnotan, La Union (SIBOL: Sustainable Interventions to Break Hunger, Zero Malnutrition)
  • Municipality of Palompon, Leyte (Adlaw sa Danggit)
  • Municipality of Asuncion, Davao del Norte (Intersectoral Participation, Our Way to Combat Malnutrition)
  • Mati City, Davao Oriental (Maternal, Mental, Nutrition Recovery, Family Care-avan)
  • Kidapawan City, Cotabato (Kidapawan City Agricultural Market and Trading Center (KCAMTC): A Community Engagement for Food Production and Nutrition)
  • Biliran Province (From Garden to Table Program)

Cadiz Mayor Salvador Escalante Jr. said their initiative, Project PAT, is a holistic, whole-of-government approach toward sustainable food security.

Conceptualized in 2010, the project started as a mere feeding program aimed at reducing the school dropout rate of 4.11% (631 out of 15,355 students) in all of Cadiz’s public elementary schools from Grades 1 to 3.

A year later, Cadiz saw its school dropout rate decreasing to 0.90%.

In 2013, the Cadiz city council passed Resolution No. 2013-198, expanding the coverage of Project PAT from schools to communities. It was then called Project PAT-Bagsik (Pagkaon Aton Tatapon-Bata Aton Giyahan sa Iya Kaalam).

The city government also launched Project Bading or Busong Aton Depensahan, Ika-ayong lawas sang Nanay aton Gina-tipigan (Let’s defend our bodies, safeguard the health of our mothers), making the initiative a twin-track or “womb-to-tomb” program in Cadiz.

The local government involved various city departments to create synergy, collaboration, and overall capacity to address interconnected issues in food security, poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.

Escalante said concreting all farm-to-market roads, implementing farm mechanization, and providing sustainable aid to farmers and fisherfolk were key to achieving the city government’s “zero hunger” goal.

In Bago, dubbed as the “rice granary of Negros Occidental,” the Planting for Productivity Project (P4P) also became part of the city’s transformative journey towards food sufficiency and community empowerment in solving hunger and poverty.

Bago Mayor Nicholas Yulo said, “Beyond cultivating rice (the lifeblood of Bago) and high-value vegetables, we are also cultivating resilience and sustainability for our people.”

Through the Ayala Foundation-supported P4P, the local government noted a significant increase in the city’s rice production by 215.70%.

Implementing P4P with women beneficiaries in three pilot barangays resulted in a yield of about 4,983.85 kilograms of high-value vegetables.

“It really contributed to the reduction of our child malnutrition rate and zero hunger goal,” Yulo said.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rex Gatchalian said the winning initiatives will be used as templates for other local governments to follow.

“This is a bottom-up social technology development from the local government units rather than from the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development),” Gatchalian said.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. stressed the critical role of local governments in addressing social ills like hunger and poverty, ensuring these efforts reach the grassroots level.

Marcos noted that around three million households across the country still suffer from involuntary hunger.

In October 2023, Marcos issued Executive Order No. 44, establishing the Walang Gutom 2027: Food Stamp Program as a flagship initiative of the national government to address hunger and stunting among children. – Rappler.com

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