MANILA – Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Sunday said the government will be maximizing information and communications technology (ICT) tools in its initiatives to combat hunger, especially in light of recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey that shows 16.7 percent of Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months.
Nograles said many of the ICT tools established by the government to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak can be used by other government bodies like the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger.
“Malaki po ang tulong ng mga ICT tools tulad nito para sa mga policymakers at implementors, kaya sinisikap nating aralin ito ng masinsinan dahil malaking pakinabang ito sa ating tungkulin. (ICT tools like these are a helpful resource for policymakers and implementors, which is why we are studying these properly as these can help us perform our duties),” Nograles said in a Facebook post.
Nograles on Thursday (May 21) launched the SCAN (Supply Chain Analytics) dashboard and spent the weekend familiarizing himself with the IT ecosystem integrating all the government Covid-19 dashboards.
The Palace official, who heads the government’s Zero Hunger Task Force and is co-chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), expressed concerns on the May 3-10 SWS survey which shows that “despite close to 100 percent of respondents saying they have received food assistance from government, 16 percent said they experienced hunger.”
SWS found that 99 percent of the 4,010 respondents answered “yes” when pollsters asked “since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, did your family receive help like food to cope with the Covid-19 crisis?”
The same survey also showed 99 percent said government was the most common source of food assistance.
“Sa isang banda, magandang balita na halos 100 percent ng na-survey ay nakatanggap ng ayuda mula sa gobyerno (On the other hand, it’s good that 100 percent said they get assistance from government). However, if there are families that are still experiencing hunger despite the assistance being extended by government and other institutions, kailangan natin matumbok ang dahilan para agad itong matugunan (we have to pinpoint the cause so that we can immediately address it),” Nograles said.
Nograles said ICT tools like SCAN could help government determine whether issues in supply chains as a result of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) may have affected food availability, accessibility and affordability.
“From day one of the Covid-19 outbreak, food security has been one of the top concerns of government. This is why we repeatedly emphasized the need for unhampered movement of cargo and introduced solutions like the RapidPass system,” he said.
He said the government “recognizes that while we deal with this public health crisis and even after it passes, we will need to find ways to ensure that produce from our farms reaches consumers efficiently as this impacts food supplies and prices.”
“We want to continue to build on the progress government had made to reduce hunger before the Covid-19 outbreak hit. Developing and maximizing ICT tools like SCAN are a huge part of this effort,” he added. (ia/PR)