January 17, 2020 – In the fight against hunger, Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones on Tuesday acknowledged the major role of the Department of Education (DepEd) in keeping Filipino learners healthy.

In her message during the first anniversary of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger and the launching of the NFP document, Secretary Briones stressed the importance of healthy learners and how eliminating hunger can provide more opportunities for learners to become better citizens.

“We cannot teach; we cannot share learning to a hungry child. A child has to be nutritionally fed to be able to learn, absorb new information, as well as become better citizen,” Secretary Briones said.

“In addition to our feeding program, which is a regular part of our school activity, we also include food production in our curriculum,” explained Sec. Briones.

Department Order No. 023, series of 2020 or the School-based Feeding Program (SBFP) for School Year 2020-2021 provides nutritious food and milk to learners from kindergarten to grade six who falls into the category of wasted and severely wasted.

Meanwhile, food production-related subjects like agricultural crop production and fish processing subjects are included in the Senior High School curriculum.

“Let this be an inspiration to us, [let us] work in seeking [solutions] and combatting this scourge of hunger. Congratulations to all,” Sec. Briones said.

This year, the IATF Zero Hunger 2021 has created the National Food Policy and programs in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA). These programs provide support to farmers and fisherfolks who are heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, chair of the task force, highlighted some of the ZHTF’s accomplishments, including the creation of the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP), the institutionalization of the Zero Hunger Programs Guidelines, the holding of the Kasapatan at Ugnayan ng Mamayan sa Akmang Pagkain at Nutrisyon (KUMAIN) Webinar Series, the Feeding Programs Initiative for the First 1000 Days of Life, the launching of Pilipinas Kontra Gutom, and the drafting of the Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Project (PMNP) Proposal for the World Bank.