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Duterte lauds TF on zero hunger 

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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday commended the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger (IATF-ZH) for working hard to achieve the government’s goal of addressing hunger and poverty amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

Duterte also extended his “warmest greetings” to IATF-ZH as it launched the National Food Policy (NFP) to highlight the task force’s virtual first anniversary.

“I am pleased with the hard work and dedication of the men and women of ITAF-ZH in coordinating with the government’s efforts in addressing hunger and poverty across the country,” Duterte said in his message read by IATF-HZ chairperson, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles.

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Duterte said the institutionalization of the NFP “is indeed a welcome development not only in our search for solutions to our decades-long problem of hunger and malnutrition but also in our efforts to attain long-term food security in 2021 and beyond”.

“We celebrate this momentous occasion for your agency with optimism that we will soon overcome the difficulties brought by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said. “I, therefore, urge you to continue your collaborative work with other agencies in crafting programs and initiatives that will improve the lives of the poorest and marginalized sectors of our society.”

With the commitment of the IATF-ZH to address hunger and poverty, Duterte expressed optimism that the country will attain a “stronger and healthier future” for every Filipino.

“Congratulations and I wish you all the best,” Duterte added.

Duterte signed Executive Order No. 101 on Jan. 10, 2020 that created IATF-ZH that formulates the government’s anti-hunger policies and ensures that government policies, initiatives, and projects on attaining zero hunger shall be coordinated, responsive and effective.

The task force is part of an all-encompassing program to form a lasting and effective public-private partnership (PPP) that aims to achieve food security for all Filipino families.

During the online anniversary, Nograles and other government officials led the presentation of the NFP document that shall serve as the country’s roadmap to achieving zero hunger.

Other government officials who graced the event include Agriculture Secretary and Task Force vice chairperson William Dar, Social Welfare and Development Secretary and IATF-ZH co-vice chairperson Rolando Bautista, and Education Secretary Leonor Briones.

Nograles emphasized the involvement of all stakeholders “as integral in the sustainability” of the task force.

“Ang problema natin sa kagutuman ay kayang masolusyan sa sama-samang pagkilos at pagtutulungan (Our hunger problem can be solved through united efforts and collaboration),” he said. “We are all responsible to end hunger.”

Despite the pandemic and natural calamities, Nograles said the Task Force remains hopeful and diligent in ensuring that no Filipino will be left behind.

Dar, for his part, said the agriculture sector needs a more focused approach to address the hunger problem.

“There are many strategies that we need to pursue like further opening up the economy and creating more jobs, creating more livelihood opportunities, including income-generating opportunities much more to the lower sectors of our population,” he said.


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