Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Big firms, grains group back drive vs hunger

By Jonathan Mayuga
Correspondent
Original article at the Business Mirror

WITH social responsibility as the mantra of the time for private corporations, several big companies such as conglomerate San Miguel Corp. and the Philippine Confederation of Grains Association expressed full cooperation with the government to end hunger in the country.

Agriculture Secretary Domingo Panganiban, lead convenor of the National Antipoverty Commission, said these companies will participate in the department’s “Adopt A Barangay Project.”

Panganiban and Secretary Edgardo Pamintuan of the Luzon Urban Beltway had been tapped by the President to carry out the government’s antipoverty programs.

The grains confederation distributed 12.5 tons of iron-fortified rice last week to poor families of Smokey Mountain in Tondo, Manila.

“We expect more private [parties] to follow in this noble undertaking to help people benefit from the benefits of the improving economy,” said Panganiban.

He said a broad alliance with the private sectors is necessary at this time to effectively carry out the government’s anti-poverty mechanisms aimed at reducing poverty by 17 percent in 2010.

Other firms supporting the effort include SM Shoemart, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., RFM Corp., Robinsons, Jollibee, McDonald and KFC Joyfoods Corp..

The Antipoverty Commission has also embarked on livelihood projects tapping the corporate management skills of local corporations to help communities situated in very vulnerable provinces of the country.

Panganiban said their “Adopt a Barangay Project” will also be undertaken in collaboration with local government units and other national government agencies.

Some of the aspects of the support of the big corporations include the trade of products of livelihood ventures in agriculture, handicrafts, and others undertaken by poor communities.

Panganiban also proposed to establish microfinancing initiatives directly in the 10 poorest provinces to make such financing within convenient reach of the poor in those areas that have traditionally been sidelined by financial institutions.

These poor provinces include Zamboanga del Norte, Masbate, Maguindanao, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Mountain Province, Lanao del Norte, Camarines Norte, Sarangani and Zamboanga Sibugay.

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