The social action arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines announced that it will be working closely with the government’s food security programs, especially in poor communities.
“We offered to share our services, including the best practices and our technology, to be replicated and further enhanced in other areas,” said Jing Rey Henderson of Caritas Philippines.
Among the programs the organization will share are its integrated and organic farming, saving and finance mobilization, community learning and earning farms, and climate change adaptation.
Henderson, who serves as communications and partnerships development coordinator of Caritas Philippines, said the Church has food security programs in at least 50 provinces in the country.
Caritas Philippines will be working with the government’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger that is mandated to ensure a “whole-of-nation approach” to eradicating hunger.
Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte created the task force and a National Food Policy that aims to review and rationalize existing policies related to zero hunger, among others.
Father Antonio Labiao, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said social action centers in the dioceses have several best practices in helping communities ensure food security.
“This places us in the most strategic position to mobilize our communities to continue working for local food security,” said the priest.
Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines, said the Church’s programs also aim to eliminate “unscrupulous traders and middlemen.”
“The solution should have been to eradicate them, and not to hamper the income of small and medium entrepreneurs,” he said.
Father Labiao noted that some communities that were able to eliminate middlemen “have recorded a steady increase of 25-30 percent income, thus improving quality of life.
In the past 10 years, Caritas Philippines has organized and registered more than 300 people’s organizations and established community organic farms in more than 50 provinces.