(19 April 2021) delivered by Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua of the National Economic and Development Authority. 

Mr. Chair, Excellencies, the Government of the Philippines strongly commits to protect and advance the gains of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Program of Action, especially during this pandemic.

The Philippines recognizes the relevance of the central theme for the 54th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD).  Population planning and food security are key to unlocking the country’s growth potential and the health and welfare of all Filipinos.

Our goal is to give every Filipino access to quality health care, nutrition services, family planning, and other reproductive health information and services at the community level. This  includes our policies in strengthening the national family planning program. These are critical pandemic responses that are being implemented through the Universal Health Care law and the Reproductive Health law.

Key policy reforms have enabled us to improve agricultural productivity and food security.  We enacted the Rice Tariffication Law in 2019 to bring down rice prices for the benefit of all Filipinos, especially the poor, improve the country’s food security, and enhance the productivity and competitiveness of rice farmers.

However, while falling over the years, malnutrition in the country remains high. As of 2019, 5.8 percent or around 600,000 children under five years old are wasted, 19.0 percent or 2.1 million are underweight, and 28.8 percent or 3.2 million children are stunted.

The government’s strategies to improve the nutrition of all Filipinos are embodied in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP).

We have formulated the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition to serve as the blueprint for nutrition programs.

We have also implemented the First 1,000 Days Act, which institutionalizes a national feeding program in public day care, kindergarten, and elementary schools. Through this, we aim to further reduce the prevalence of stunting among children under five years old as we consider the impact of COVID-19 to food security and nutrition.

Moreover, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte recently issued Executive Order No. 101, creating the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger to ensure a whole-of-government approach to eradicating hunger and achieving food security.

Aside from this, the Philippine government is implementing reforms to promote sustainable consumption and production to reshape food systems, as espoused in the Philippine Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges we are facing in securing food, nutrition, and health for all Filipinos. Overcoming this unprecedented crisis requires stronger collaboration across all sectors.  Let us continue to work hard together until our common goal of human capital development is fully realized.