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Philippine groups warn against increasing food insecurity

A network of food security advocates has warned against widespread hunger and food shortage in the Philippines due to continuing attacks on tribal communities.

The People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty said land grabbing and displacement are the main reasons for food insecurity in the country.

In time of the observance of World Hunger Day on Oct. 16, the group said domination of big corporations over tribal lands contributed to increasing hunger incidents.

World Hunger Day was declared in 2012 by the Asian Peasant Coalition to counter the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization’s World Food Day on the same day.

“Agri-businesses and mono-cropping plantations that use large portion of lands within ancestral domain territories, affect food security,” said Gail Orduña, spokeswoman of the coalition.

She said the “Zero Hunger” goal of the United Nations remains to be a fantasy “especially now that the vanguards of our source of food are being attacked.”

Rius Valle, spokesman of the group Save Our Schools Network, said the aggressive expansion of the agri-business industry has a direct connection with the displacement of tribal communities.

“The indigenous peoples who produce our food and protect the source of raw materials are being driven away from their lands,” he said.

In the southern Philippines’ Davao region, at least 150,000 hectares of agricultural lands are being occupied by agri-businesses while forest lands are being mined.

Valle said his group has recorded 18,249 affected families who fled their homes to conflict as a result of the entry of so-called development projects.

Sister Emma Cupin of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines said the attack on the indigenous people and their lands is an attack on the environment.

“The government must realize that it is leaning on the wrong side,” said the missionary nun.

The 2019 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report noted that more than 820 million people experienced hunger and over two billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food in 2018.

The report also indicated that for every 10 hungry people, six are from Asia and three are from Africa. It shows that 90 percent of the world’s hungry are from these regions.

The 2019 Global Report on Food Crises recorded that more than 113 million people across 53 countries experienced acute hunger last year, two-thirds of whom were located in 21 countries, mostly in Asia and Africa.

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