Palace applauds Lea Salonga

October 19, 2010

October 18, 2010

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Malacañang congratulated Lea Salonga after she was designated goodwill ambassador of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO).

“We congratulate Miss Salonga on this achievement and we are confident that she will bring more honor to the country by way of this new designation,” it said in a statement.

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, for his part, said Salonga’s new position will “bring much-needed attention to food and agriculture issues.”

“We hope this paves the way for more discussion and dialogue on the issues that affect majority, if not all, of our people,” he said in a statement released Monday.

He continued, “We cannot hide the fact that the Philippines is an agricultural country, so we need policies that would address the lack of investments in agriculture, productivity, food security, income and livelihood in this sector.”

Pangilinan, currently the chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries and the Senate Committee on Social Justice and Rural Development, also enjoined all sectors of society to “forge stronger partnerships to ensure food security and the opening up of more opportunities for our agricultural workers.”

Earlier, FAO director general Jacques Diouf said Salonga and the other ambassadors were installed because of their commitments “personally and professionally to address the universal and humanitarian goals that underpin FAO’s mission to build a food-secure world for present and future generations.”

Three other famed international celebrities were named goodwill ambassadors, namely Italian actor Raul Bova, American actress Susan Sarandon and Canadian singer Celine Dion.

As goodwill ambassadors, they will help the United Nations in its global fight against hunger.

The 4 stars, along with international political figures, called for urgent collective action to eradicate world hunger that is still afflicting nearly a billion people globally.

The world marked the 30th celebration of World Food Day on Saturday, and the event has the slogan: “United against hunger.” The main issues in focus were rapidly increasing demand for food commodities and changing climates that affect abilities to produce food.

The FAO estimates that 925 million people suffer from chronic hunger, compared to 1.023 billion people last year following the effects of the global recession and the 2007-08 spike in food prices. -With reports from ANC and Agence France-Presse

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