NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews/November 13) – With the waning virulence of COVID-19 and the economy finally open after a hiatus of about two years, the nation also expected food insecurity to ease. But no, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has shaken the country, if not the whole world, with a crushing energy crisis.
As a result, commodity and commodity prices have soared beyond the reach of many. As if the punishment wasn’t enough, the value of the peso against the dollar fell to an all-time low of P60, triggering murderous inflation, further worsening the plight of the people.
When it rains, it pours. With Typhoon Paeng, it’s not just a matter of pouring rain; the typhoon dropped vicious rain bombs on the archipelago, causing devastating floods and landslides, killing a number of lives, wasting crops and destroying roads and bridges.
At no time have the Filipino people suffered so much from a disastrous set of events. We therefore face a looming food crisis never seen after World War II.
As always, the poor are the most affected by food shortages,
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the incidence of poverty in the Philippines has increased to 18.1% in 2021, which equates to 19.99 million poor Filipinos.
And the proportion of Filipinos whose income is not enough to meet even basic food needs, was recorded at 9.9%, or about 10.94 million Filipinos in the first half of 2021.
The staggering numbers may have swelled given the recent blow of calamities that have hit the country.
Indeed, the latest Social Weather Stations survey in the second quarter of 2022 indicates that 12.2 million Filipino families consider themselves food poor.
Food poverty surveys, which are often based on an individual’s access and purchasing power, are usually conducted among people who have a job or regular sources of income, not among the unemployed or people without purchasing power in disadvantaged communities or among the homeless. in the metro and unskilled labor and farmers affected by climate change in the countryside.
Who are considered food poor? The poor in food are those who are as poor as the rats in the church, so to speak.
They do not have access to food sources, nor the ability to consume adequate quality or sufficient quantity of food in a socially acceptable way for economic and other reasons.
How do the food poor cope with food unavailability?
In Metro Manila, many collect trash from restaurants, especially fast food outlets. The food in the trash is then separated from the rest, washed and annealed and becomes the family meals. Many survive this way, how dangerous it can be for health.
Recycled trash food is known as Pagpag (from pagpagan, which means dust off the dirt). Those who have more than enough pagpag for the day share them or sell them to neighbors.
On the other hand, the food-poor of the countryside hunt and survive on field rats, wild roots and “sky-falling” coconuts, which they have taken the liberty of bringing home as as keepers of the discoverers, without knowledge or permission. tree owners.
Food poverty has multiple negative impacts on the health and well-being of individuals and communities. It is imperative and crucial that the government increase food aid to the poor by realigning the budget with confidential and intelligent funds. After all, it is no longer necessary to spend huge sums of money searching for the enemy. The enemy is before us: food insecurity. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. AdamPh.D., is a retired professor and former Chancellor of Mindanao State University in Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)