PFM Troops to Malacañang to File Food Cluster E.O.

Manila, Philippines, 19 September 2017 – The Peoples’ Food Movement (PFM) [1], League of Organic Municipalities and Cities (LOAMC) [2], #IAmHampasLupa, and some individuals trooped to Malacañang today and filed the draft Executive Order that calls for the Creation of a Cabinet Food Cluster.   

The Cabinet Food Cluster shall act as the overall coordinating body in the formulation of policy guidelines, master plans, and programs that will ensure the attainment of the national vision, mission, goals, objectives, and targets of a sustainable and ecological food system anchored on the principles of food sovereignty.

The movement also calls on President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately address the worsening “food emergency” situation of the country. The Press Conference that followed the filing of the EO featured some of the PFM members and what they are currently doing in relation to the food campaign.

Myrna Jimenez of SARILAYA, Inc., highlighted the gender-dimension in farming or gardening, as well as the need for promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality. Jimenez said, “women have a natural affinity to natural resources… land and water” thus, the need to support women’s advocacy.

May Baez of Kalusugan ng Mag-Ina supported Jimenez’ and expressed the need for a sustainable food system to ensure the health and nutrition of mothers and children. She cited that the Philippines has the second most undernourished population in Southeast Asia and ninth in the world on stunted rate.

“Kailangan ng sapat na nutrisyon ng mga bata mula pa sa sinapupunan,” Baez said. “Access to food that is sustainable, nutritious, safe and produced sustainably, is very important for mothers, as well as to children. She also emphasized that the mother’s and child’s health depends on the country’s agricultural state.

Cesar Hawak of PUMALU-MV lamented about their poor state and stressed the insufficient support of the government to the fishing sector. He also stated that majority of the fishing grounds in the country are overfished and this is further aggravated by the encroachment of commercial fishing vessels in the municipal fishing grounds and the worsening cases of illegal fishing. He calls for a unified government policy framework that will address these issues considering that fish is among the population’s major source of protein.

Ryan Bestre of IamHampaslupa Ecological Agriculture Movement calls on the current generation – the millennials – who mindlessly consume whatever is readily available from convenience stores and fast-food restaurants, without knowing what the food exactly is, how it is prepared, and where it comes from, to be more mindful of the food that they are putting in their bodies.

Meanwhile, Leonora Lava of Greenpeace Philippines emphasized that there is still no comprehensive government policy that will address various issues that confront the country’s food system. “There should be greater coherence, convergence, and synergy on various programs of the government on food.  Currently, these programs are lodged in different departments and agencies,” she said.

Mayor Eliseo Ruzol of General Nakar, Quezon Province, represented LOAMC.  He shared that LOAMC already issued a resolution directing its members to issue Municipal Executive Order or an Ordinance creating the Local Food Councils to develop food plans in their respective localities. He added that malnutrition is a big problem since people are not well-taught when it comes to eating the right food. “Our next leaders should ensure that the next generations will eat the right food,” he added.

The last speaker, Jhun Pascua of Pambansang Katipunan ng Makabayang Magbubukid (PKMM) stated that they only have a simple dream – a dream that in the first place should not be a dream – they just wanted to have access to safe and nutritious food at any given time.   

The press conference ended with the launching of the online petition for the Creation of the Food Cluster under the Cabinet Cluster System.

The group also announced the upcoming event that will bring showcase the best practices and initiatives of the Peoples’ Food Movement.  This is a free public event to be held at the Cinema Lobby, TriNoma Mall. For more details, please visit Peoples Food Movement Facebook Page.

 

 

[1] PFM is a joining of various civil society formations which advocates practicing, advocating, and campaigning for a sustainable and ecological food systems and food sovereignty.

[2] LOAMC is an organization of Local Government Units founded to advance the advocacy and institutionalize the program of sustainable organic agriculture in the country. https://www.facebook.com/joan.remondejar

[3] IAmHampasLupa Ecological Youth Movement is a community of farmers, agriculturists, environmentalists, students, professionals, and volunteers advocating for ecological agriculture. https://www.facebook.com/IAmHampasLupa/  

 

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