March 1, 2024

This near-sighted Ibaloy writer is truly blessed to have been born and raised in a loving and close-knit family of modest middle-class means (both my parents were employed in government) where my siblings (a younger sister and brother) and I always enjoyed three square meals a day and never endured the pangs of hunger.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for many Pinoys in our beloved archipelago of delicious coconuts and smiling carabaos where the number of those living (or merely existing?) below the poverty level is tragically high.
I could be wrong, but maybe all, if not most of our financially-challenged countrymen have, and continue to suffer from the blight of hunger. If that isn’t tragic, then I don’t know what is. Although it gets more difficult each passing day, I still nurture faint hopes that our leaders, many of whom belong to political dynasties that have been in power since time immemorial, will formulate more and better sustainable solutions to erase or more realistically, mitigate, this problem of poverty and with it, hunger, from our society and its long-suffering people. Nobody should miss a meal and go hungry.
This could also be one of the reasons why the Philippines seem to consistently rank low in terms of the educational performance of its students compared to those of our neighbors. Those who usually rank high are students from rich and developed countries. It’s common sense, I guess.
Surely, it’s difficult to study or concentrate in class on an empty stomach. Plus, the lack of proper nutrition must also affect one’s mental or cognitive abilities or aptitude. Again, I’m not an education and nutrition expert, so I could be wrong.
With this in mind, it’s great to learn that Mayor Benjamin Magalong signed Ordinance 96, s. 2023, providing free meals to the city’s youth enrolled in the different higher educational institutions in the city, establishing for its purpose a free meals program, and appropriating funds for it.
The measure aims to contribute to and complement government efforts to reduce or eradicate student hunger and discourage them from disadvantageous, illicit, and illegal activities for alternative sources of income while promoting proper health and nutrition to college students.
Hope it succeeds in doing just that. Again, nobody deserves to go hungry. Well, maybe some do, but that’s another column.
May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.