As one of the member agencies of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger (IATF-ZH), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will continue to support the government’s whole-of-nation approach in eradicating hunger and other related issues through the provision of social protection programs that will provide safety-nets for poor and vulnerable sectors.

This was highlighted by the Department at the first anniversary celebration of the task force on January 11.

During his message at the online anniversary program, DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista emphasized the support that the Department will provide to the task force as vice chair.

“DSWD will continue to support the advocacies and programs of the task force by delivering social services to the poor, vulnerable, and the disadvantaged sectors. In addition, we will also continue to ensure the provision of quality and immediate relief assistance to guarantee food stability during disasters and emergencies which is DSWD’s main responsibility as member of the task force,” the Secretary said.

DSWD leads the Key Result Area 5 which is to “Ensure Sustainable Food Systems, Resiliency and Food Stability for Emergencies.” Relative to this, the Department ensures the sufficiency of food supply in vulnerable communities during pandemics, calamities, and disasters.

Among the programs identified by the Department to ensure food stability for emergencies include the implementation of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program; general provision of food and non-food items during disaster response operations; protracted/continuing relief assistance and food relief during the early recovery phase; and, implementation of the cash-for work program for climate and disaster adaptation and mitigation, and response and early recovery phase.

In addition, the Department also implements the Sustainable Livelihood Program, the Supplementary Feeding Program for day care children, and the provision of P600 monthly rice subsidy for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries to ensure resiliency for food supplies, and secure nutrition adequacy and prevent malnutrition for vulnerable populations.

The Secretary also congratulated all members of the IATF-ZH, led by the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, for prioritizing the need to guarantee food stability and immediate provision of quality relief assistance through the implementation of anti-hunger projects, programs, and services in the recently launched National Food Policy (NFP).

“The policy will reinforce and harmonize the efforts of the different member-agencies of the task force to create strategies and programs that will help end hunger, improve nutrition, achieve food security, and promote sustainable agriculture in our country,” he said.

“Based on recent surveys, hunger incidence in the country escalated due to COVID-19 pandemic. This national food policy will also be instrumental in addressing this pressing problem. It will give a reason for our kababayans to continue to hope for a zero hunger Philippines amidst the crisis, and elicit behavioral change to every Filipino to be one with us in fighting for hunger, and in ensuring nutrition, food security and sustainable agriculture across the country,” the Secretary concluded.

The DSWD remains committed to jointly work with other government agencies in addressing the hunger problem in the country. ###