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DSWD chief highlights role of community in ending hunger during Zero Hunger Summit

Zero Hunger Summit
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian delivers his keynote speech, focusing on the WALANG GUTOM 2027: Food Provision through Strategic Transfer and Alternative Measures Program (Food STAMP Program or FSP), during the Zero Hunger Summit at the Ateneo de Manila University on Friday (July 14). The FSP is a new initiative of the Marcos administration aimed at achieving zero hunger and food security by Year 2027.

“We can never end poverty overnight. But we can win the long fight against it by winning the small battles along the way.”

This was the main message of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian during the Zero Hunger Summit at the Ateneo de Manila University on Friday (July 14).

In his keynote address, the DSWD chief emphasized the big role that communities play in the government’s whole-of-nation initiative in trying to end hunger and achieving food security.

Secretary Gatchalian also explained how community leaders, barangay leaders, youths, and other members of the society can assist the government in mitigating hunger in the country.

“Paulit-ulit nating sinasabi, ‘whole-of-nation approach.’ Nakita niyo naman yung programa. Ang daming gumagalaw. Mayroong sakahan, Kadiwa [ng Pangulo], tindahan. Hindi namin kakayanin yan pag kami lang,” the DSWD chief said.

(We keep saying, ‘whole-of-a-nation approach.’ You saw the program. There are different groups involved – farming, Kadiwa [ng Pangulo], shops. We can’t do it alone.)

“But what we need you to do is organize farming groups that can set up farming community stores where we can accredit you, make you a merchant so that our beneficiaries can go there to buy delicious, nutritious, and affordable food,” Secretary Gatchalian pointed out.

In his presentation, the DSWD secretary also underscored the WALANG GUTOM 2027: Food Provision through Strategic Transfer and Alternative Measures Program (Food STAMP Program), a new initiative of the administration of President R. Marcos Jr. aimed at achieving zero hunger and food security by the Year 2027.

One of the goals of the program is the household behavioral change by conducting nutrition education in the communities.

“We really need help in trying to organize nutrition classes in the community. Kasi kung gusto natin ng (Because if we want) behavioral change, we have to do communication that will make our families understand the value of buying right and eating right,” the DSWD chief explained.

Secretary Gatchalian also pointed out that hunger is a multi-dimensional problem that cannot be solved by just providing food.

Zero Hunger Summit

“Ending hunger, hindi lang po yan pagbibigay po ng pagkain. Marami pong aspeto. Kahit pakainin mo yung bata, pero madumi yung paligid nya at nag-diarrhea siya, ganon pa rin ang mangyayari. Pakainin mo yung bata pero wala naman post-harvest facility pag-uwi niya, gutom pa rin po sya,” the DSWD chief said.

(Ending hunger, that’s not just giving food. There are many aspects. Even if you feed the child, but the area around him is dirty and he has diarrhea, the same thing will still happen. You feed the child but there is no post-harvest facility when he comes home, he is still hungry.)

Secretary Gatchalian added: “The problem natin kasi ay miscommunication…na ang solusyon sa hunger ay pagkain lamang. We need so many things: behavioral change o yung pag-iisip sa tahanan, yung buong environment…”

(Our problem is the miscommunication that the only solution to hunger is giving food. We need so many things: behavioral change or the way family members think at home, the whole environment…)

Food Stamp Program: A new initiative

The Food Stamp Program aims to provide electronic benefit transfers that will be loaded with food credits amounting to P3,000 to purchase a select list of food commodities from DSWD accredited local retailers.

The program intends to target the bottom 1 million households from Listahanan 3 who belong to the food-poor criteria as defined by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The DSWD has identified pilot sites coming from different geopolitical characteristics; one in geographically isolated regions or provinces; one in urban poor settings; one will be calamity-stricken areas; and one will be a rural poor area.

The pilot implementation of the program will be launched on July 18 in Tondo, Manila.

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