‘Make food security a priority’

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
�Make food security a priority�
Kamuning Bakery distributes pandesal (bread) to less furtunate during the 4th " World Pandesal Day" in Quezon City on Tuesday, in line with the World Food Day with this years theme "Our Actions are our Future.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — In observance of World Food Day, farmers yesterday challenged candidates in next year’s midterm elections to address the country’s problems on food security and poverty.

“The issue of food security is important. We are closely watching who among those filing their certificates of candidacy (COCs) are making a clear stance on how to address the problem on poverty and food security,” Antonio Flores, secretary-general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), said.

Based on a recent survey, more than 12 million Filipinos rated themselves poor, while more than eight million are “food poor.”

The figures translate to more than 80 percent of the country’s 101-million population as poor and suffering from lack of food.

Women’s groups led by the AMIHAN National Federation of Peasant Women earlier staged a protest in Mendiola to commemorate International Rural Women’s Day.

“Women’s rights, welfare and wellbeing are not rightfully represented by a majority who get elected to public office. Over 50 individuals have filed COCs for senator. Not one candidate said that there is an urgent need to lower price of rice and other basic commodities. There are only a few who said there should be an increase in the salary of employees and that the TRAIN law should be junked,” the group said.

The KMP said candidates for the 2019 senatorial race range from ordinary farmers and businessmen to incumbent senators and unknown individuals.

“All of them have their reasons for seeking an electoral post. The voting public also have more than enough reasons to junk or select a candidate,” Flores said.

He said most of those who have filed their certificates of candidacy have not significantly made a stance about the high prices of rice and food.

“Senate is a crucial public office when it comes to legislation. LGUs, on the other hand, are equally important in executing national to local programs and policies. All candidates should connect with the electorate’s gut issues and not become mere attraction in this political circus,” Flores said, referring to the local government units.

Addressing the rising cost of rice, food and basic goods as well as the issues on genuine agrarian reform, human rights and social justice are among the important policy platforms that a candidate should carry, he added.

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