Speech by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the Walang Gutom 2027: Food Stamp Program (FSP) Kick-off Activity

Speeches 18 July 2023

Maraming, maraming salamat sa ating butihing Vice President at Department of Education Secretary, Secretary and Vice President Inday Sara Duterte. [Oh, please, please take your seats.]

The Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps who are here joining us for this extremely important day that we are commemorating here today; of course the lead agency for the Food Stamp Program, the DSWD and the head of the DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian; the ADB Philippines Country Director Pavit Ramachandran, who without whom we would not have been able to come to this day to make this a reality; and of course, we cannot forget also the assistance that has been given us by the World Food Programme and their Philippines Country Director Brenda Barton; Manila City Mayor, Mayor Maria Sheilah Lacuna-Pangan; ang ating mga benepisyaryo; the Secretary Benny Laguesma of the DOLE; and all of those, lahat ng ating mga miyembro ng DSWD, ng DOLE, ng lahat ng mga agencies na nakasama rito upang tulungan na ating matugunan ang mga gutom na Pilipino upang makamtan natin ang ating pangarap na sana wala ng gutom na Pilipino pagkatapos nitong termino na ito.

Kaya’t magandang hapon po sa ating lahat.

Masaya akong makasama kayo sa ating paglulunsad ng Food Stamp Program ng DSWD. Batid po nating lahat na ang kagu…

Well, I will speak in English as we have members of the Diplomatic Corps.

It is of course always the dream of any government, of any leader that we are able to do something about hunger around our countries because that is the most important and the most insidious influence of our people that gets in the way of the development of each individual and thus the entire society.

We have always tried to rise up from the throes of poverty but the problem of hunger and malnutrition still remains. And that’s why it has become a priority of this government that we will fight all the poverty. We will put in all the programs so that one day we can say that we are able to give our people, at the very least, the food that they need to survive, the nutrition that they need to survive.

We use the two terms interchangeably in terms of food supply and nutrition. And by our thinking now these days is that it’s not necessarily the case and it is not enough that we just provide all kinds of food but also it is of a nutritional value that will allow especially our children and our nursing mothers to become a center of healthful life for their children, for their families, and for their communities.

And so we have set up this program and this program – actually when the Secretary Rex first came to me and said that with his talks with the foreign funding institutions such as ADB and the World Food Programme, and of course our partners in different countries, in the persons of the Diplomatic Corps that are here, I immediately expressed I cannot understand why this is the first time that we have talked about a food stamp program. Because it seems to be – especially after the pandemic – it seems to be a particularly important initiative as we have seen the difficulties that we have had in terms of pricing, of agricultural commodities, in terms of the supply of agricultural commodities. And not only commodities, but food, to be able to provide the kind of nutrition that will make our children, that will make our people healthy and productive in their daily lives.

So, we have an electronic transfer card and it is a system that we will use to program – it is not something that we are just starting now.

Ipapakita at ituturo din po sa inyo ng mga kawani ng DSWD kung papano gagamitin ‘to. They will show you, the DSWD will go around and will show you how to use this card and how to avail of the benefits that come through this card.

So again, let us thank our partners in this very important program. Of course, the DSWD has been the lead agency. The ADB has been — it was actually a part of the discussion when I went to visit ADB and it was proposed by the Asian Development Bank that we have a food stamp program.

And of course, having listened to this rather good idea, Secretary Rex and I immediately jumped upon the opportunity and said let’s not let this lapse, let’s not let them forget that this is something that we would like to do, and that finds us here today.

So let — this is the continuing part of all that we have tried to do. So as to be able to achieve ‘yung tinatawag na “walang gutom” and for those who are not speaking tagalog, “walang gutom” means “no more hunger”.

And that is the dream of this administration. That is what we are hoping to achieve in this administration that by the end of 2028, we can say that we have done everything to reduce the hunger and poverty in our country, and to be able to be sure that we can provide a good, healthy, and productive life for our people.

Thank you very much and good afternoon. [applause]

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SOURCE: PCO-PND (Presidential News Desk)