Apart from the country’s serious campaign against illegal drugs, the government should also give emphasis to the crisis of poverty and hunger, a senator said on Tuesday.
During the Anti-Hunger Summit held in Ateneo de Manila University that aims to improve public-private collaboration to create solutions to hunger, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian noted that the Duterte administration is capable of simultaneously focusing on drugs and poverty and hunger just like what Vietnam did to reduce the same crisis by 50 percent in the previous year.
“[It’s not] instant, but we really need to start it. Start it fast and efficiently,” Gatchalian told reporters.
In a Global Hunger Index, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said the Philippines has a much higher poverty and hunger rate with 20.1 percent compared to Vietnam with 14.7 percent in year 2015.
The IPRI based its data on four components–undernourishment, child wasting, child mortality and child stunting.
According to the IFPRI, the country has a 33 percent case of child stunting compared to Vietnam with only 19.4
On child wasting, the Philippines has a 7.9 percent rate while Vietnam only had 5.7 percent.
On child mortality of children below five years old, Vietnam improved by 52.9 percent while the Philippines only had 49.2 percent.
According to Gatchalian, although the country is doing its own efforts to eliminate poverty and hunger, established programs may not be efficient to reduce it.
In the same summit, Sen. Grace Poe, a losing candidate for the presidency in the May 2016 elections, also called on the government to enhance its efforts to arrest malnutrition and hunger.
[We see that the product of hunger is visible in a person’s face and thin body]” Poe said.
She cited a Social Weather Stations survey that showed more than three million Filipino families still experience hunger.
“We have about 3.1 million families that are hungry, so if you multiply that [by five], which is the average number of members of a family, that’s 15 million. That’s more [serious]than the problem on drugs,” Poe said.
“I think that we should strengthen our priorities when it comes to fighting hunger. We can do that alongside with other priorities,” she added.