The House Committee on Appropriations on Monday approved an unnumbered substitute bill seeking to build disaster food banks in every province in the Philippines.
With this bill, Dinagat Islands Rep. Alan 1 B. Ecleo, one of the principal authors of the proposal, said no province will have to grapple with massive starvation and inadequate food resources because of transportation delays or interruptions.
“Our province’s experience with Covid-19 and Typhoon Odette is an eye-opener to the reality experienced by geographically isolated Provinces in times of crises and natural calamities, specifically concerning the accessibility and availability of food supply,” said Ecleo, who chairs the House Committee on Disaster Resilience.
Ecleo authored House Bill 5245, among the three bills consolidated and passed by the House Appropriations Committee. It aims to establish stockpiles that will serve as a “central repository and supply reserve of food, water, medicines, vaccines, antidotes, and other critical medical supplies, and other essential goods such as but not limited to, portable power source, first aid kits, portable light source, clothing, tents, and communication devices in every municipality and city in the Philippines.”
Such items and materials, according to Ecleo, shall be non-perishable or will have a shelf life of at least two years for food items.
The bill will also help in boosting local agriculture and local economies of municipalities and cities by sourcing the food and other supplies from within the LGUs themselves.
“As we have always said, no province is safe from the destruction and devastation brought by weather-related events, especially in the context of our changing climate,” said Ecleo.
“We need to empower each LGU to be able to provide adequate food and supplies to affected households and communities, especially the impoverished,” he added.