News | 02-03-2015
Philippines Agrarian Reform Income and Social Security Nutrition

Right to Food Bill remains imperative to end hunger in Philippines

Civil society organizations in Philippines expressed to the UN Special Rapporteur the crucial role of national legislators to eradicate hunger among Filipinos

A little boy stands on the doorway of their house in Navotas area. Photo © NFC by Pat Roque.

Last week the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Hilal Elver, carried out the first official country mission to the Philippines. On the occasion, the National Food Coalition (NFC) discussed with the Special Rapporteur the need to push national legislators to pass the "Right to Adequate Food Bill", or the "Zero-Hunger Bill", pending in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Composed of more than 70 member organizations and federations with more than 10,000 members across the Philippines, the NFC argues that the proper implementation of the proposed Right to Adequate Food Bill will make a major impact on poverty reduction by directly addressing hunger and extreme poverty in the country. The draft bill aims to achieve zero hunger in 10 years by increasing the area devoted to food production to 50% of all prime agricultural land in every region.

In a meeting with the Special Rapporteur, civil society representatives expressed frustration and disappointment over the lack of a clear cut government policy on the right to adequate food that is perpetuating hunger among Filipinos:

"We request the Special Rapporteur to urge senators and congressmen to give priority attention to the Zero-Hunger Bill … The hunger situation in the Philippines must not be allowed to continue and our legislators should realize they play a crucial role in addressing this matter", expressed the NFC in a press release.

The UN Rapporteur's visit was an opportunity for CSOs to stress the links of land rights, access to and control of productive resources to the right to adequate food. It also served as an occasion to highlight policies and impacts on the right to adequate food and food security, and to underscore the issue of poverty, inequality and the right to adequate food of the poor and vulnerable groups, especially women, children and indigenous peoples.

Aurea G. Miclat-Teves, President of FIAN-Philippines and Convenor of the NFC, presented in a background document the urgency for an adoption of the Right to Adequate Food Bill in the Philippines. Among others, the document addresses that "the government must make food a priority both in law and in policy", as well as "the bill is the key element in this endeavor and it is a concrete expression of the government's commitment to eradicate hunger among Filipinos."

Furthermore, an alternative report by FIAN Philippines was drafted to serve as a guide for the Special Rapporteur's final recommendations to the government of Philippines.

More information

Read "The Philippine Right to Adequate Food: An Alternative Report" by FIAN Philippines …

Read the press release on the UN Special Rapporteur's visit in Philippines …

Read the background document on the right to adequate and food and nutrition in the Philippines by the NFC …

See pictures of "End Hunger: A Photo Exhibit" from February 23-27, 2015 ...