The Right to Adequate Food Framework (RTAF) Bill

Indigenous people and people organizations’ leaders advocating RTAF Bill 2014 © Astrud Lea Beringer

Indigenous people and people organizations’ leaders advocating RTAF Bill 2014 © Astrud Lea Beringer

The RTAF framework bill aims to protect the right to adequate food and to end hunger in the Philippines within ten years. It provides a framework in which the right to adequate food may be realized. Adequate food is not considered as a matter of charity but as a fundamental human right of all Filipinos and its realization is a legal duty of the State.

There is a need for a Philippine statute that gives an explicit guarantee of the right to adequate food as there is at present no Philippine law that ensures such. The 1987 Philippine Constitution itself has not incorporated the right to adequate food per se. However Article III, Section 1, of the Constitution mentions the right to life, from which the right to adequate food is implied. Also the Magna Carta of Women emphasizes in Section 20 the need for the right to adequate food.

The RTAF bill further aims to harmonize and to place in a proper context all laws that bear upon the right to adequate food as different aspects of this right are found in a broad range of laws. The bill also adopts a human rights based approach which considers the inclusion of the principle of participation, accountability, non-discrimination, transparency, human dignity, empowerment and rule of law.

The National Food Coalition (NFC) was established in October 2012 by FIAN Philippines as the lead organization, together with the Peoples Development Institute (PDI), the Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PHILRIGHTS) and the Alternative Forum for Research in Mindanao (AFRIM) as members of the steering committee.

The NFC is composed of over 75 organizations and federations with more than 10,000 members from the urban poor, peasants, indigenous people, fisherfolk and the middle class. It was born out of the need of all sectors in the Philippines to respond to the growing hunger and impoverishment in the country. Its goal is to challenge the government to integrate the various Philippine policies on RTAF into a national framework and to develop strategies that will impact on economic growth and rural development.

The RTAF bill,also known as the “Zero Hunger Bill”, has been deliberated at the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights is about to issue a Committee Resolution on Senate Bill No. 2137 while the House Committee on Human Rights is about to issue a Committee Resolution on House Bill No. 3795.

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