Through the recommendation of the Department of Agriculture, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) encouraged local government units to include sugar in relief packages being distributed to families affected by the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
According to Nograles, this is to support sugar farmers and the local sugar industry, after the DA has warned about the possible price increase on sugar because of artificial shortage.
While the intention to help farmers is undeniably beneficial, given that the government is also known for its lack of support to rural farmers, shouldn’t the IATF also instruct the LGUs to at least add more food to relief packs?
Over the past few weeks, social media feeds have been filled with sentiments of dismay from citizens saying that they’ve waited too long for food packs to help them survive the ECQ in which everyone is ordered to stay inside their homes, only to receive a little amount of rice and three pieces of canned goods.
Some internet users also related that they have to wait for a few weeks for another ration of relief packs from their local government. For a family with more than three members, the relief packs being handed out are obviously not enough to feed everyone.
Members of poor and vulnerable families have also expressed their concern about how hunger, and not COVID-19, will lead them to death.
It has been a month since the entire Luzon is placed under the enhanced community quarantine, and the government is planning to extend the lockdown duration which is supposed to be lifted on April 30.
If the ECQ will be prolonged once again, the national government in partnership with the LGUs, should implement the necessary actions that will lead to a more efficient and an improved way of extending help to those who really need it, like the communities with families struggling to survive a day with their empty stomachs.