Growling stomachs point to need for food policy shift

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The death of a four-year-old girl crushed in yesterday’s stampede and earthquake panic while waiting for the government’s anti-poverty dole-out led a lawmaker to say that President Aquino 3rd’s observance of World Food Day is a total mockery that the poor mark this day as World Hunger Day instead.

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Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Emmi de Jesus marked national anti-poverty programs as a total failure as she highlighted findings that malnutrition still stalks 17 percent of the Philippines’ population, according to the 2013 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report released October 14 by the International Food Policy Research Institute (FPRI).

The group ranked the Philippines 28th among 78 countries, falling behind Vietnam, Indonesia, and Mongolia. It noted that while the “hunger index” or GHI of 13.2 went down from 14 in 2005, the drop was insignificant and this still puts the country in the “serious” hunger” classification.

“Nakakalungkot na namatay si Shaiza Mila Petiluna habang naghihintay ang pamilya niya sa karampot na ayuda ng 4Ps o Programang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino,” de Jesus said as she lamented that a stampede in Pinamungajan, Cebu killed a four-year old girl and injured twenty others while lining up for 4Ps cash payouts in the midst of the killer earthquake that struck Central Philippines yesterday.

“Sa kabila ng malaking pork na ibinuhos ng gobyerno para sa 4Ps nitong tatlong taon, laganap pa din ang kagutuman sa malaking bilang ng mamamayan. Hinubaran ng Global Hunger Index ang mga balatkayo ng mga papuring ulat ng kasaganaan sa ilalim ng Matuwid na Daan at inclusive growth,” de Jesus remarked.

GHI ranks hunger levels among 120 developing countries based on numbers of undernourished adults, children under five who are underweight; and mortality rate of children under five. GHI levels below 5 means the low threat of hunger while above 20 translates to “extremely alarming.”

The Philippines and 36 other countries with GHI scores between 10 and 19.9 were suffering “serious” hunger levels.

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