MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) promised not just adequate supply, but also nutritious and affordable food for Filipinos, as the country joined the celebration of World Food Day on Monday.

In a statement, the DA said it renews its commitment to ensuring every Filipino will have access to “safe and nutritious food.”

“This year’s theme: “Leave NO ONE behind. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life” promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure healthy diets for all, leaving no one behind. Through this campaign, we renew our commitment to take part in actions,” the DA statement read.

The Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) earlier reiterated President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s goal to provide safe, nutritious and affordable food for all Filipinos.

“Sa sama-samang pagsuporta sa ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda, at sa pag-aalaga sa kalikasang pinanggagalingan ng ating pagkain, tiyak na mapagtatagumpayan natin ito! (In our united support to our farmers and fishers, and by taking care of our natural resources which are the sources of our food, we shall be successful!),” the OPS said in a tweet.

Several learners drink bottled milk during the World Food Day celebration in Quezon City (Photo Courtesy: FAO Philippines)

Marcos, concurrent DA secretary, was not able to join the DA’s celebration of World Food Day due to a “conflict in schedule.”

The President attended the Philippine Tourism Industry Convergence Reception (PTICR) at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban led the event alongside other agriculture officials, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and Senator Cynthia Villar.

Both Panganiban and Villar joined the distribution of milk bottles to beneficiary learners as well as meat-in-a-box food packs for select mothers in Quezon City, as part of the celebration.

The agriculture department distributes meat-in-a-box food packs to some mothers in Quezon City (Photo Courtesy: FAO Philippines)

During the Meat Safety Consciousness Week celebration, Domingo said it is crucial for the national government to move to ensure the safety of food in the country.

“The national government, which by design is the highest representation for our people, has a special obligation to be alert to consumer needs and to advance consumer interests… Keeping food safe is a complex process that starts on the farm and ends with the consumer,” he said in his speech.

Among the strategies he highlighted were the “updating of food safety action plan” for better risk-based inspections; improvement of food and nutrition security policies including “early detection of threats”; and “stronger political will” at the local level when it comes to upholding food safety.

Domingo noted that with less attention to food safety policies and strategies, worse risks to human health are posed, considering that “harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemical substances” may cause hundreds of diseases.

“I’m expressing my own best wishes to the NMIS (National Meat Inspection Service). I speak for a new administration that values the role of the NMIS in our ongoing endeavor to achieve maximum food security for all Filipino consumers,” he said.