Legarda renews call to preserve Philippine culinary heritage, promote food security as PH celebrates Filipino Food Month

April 3, 2022

Three-term Senator, now Senatorial Candidate, Loren Legarda renewed her call to preserve Philippine culinary heritage and to promote sustainable food security as the country celebrates this year’s Filipino Food Month with the theme, “Pagkaing Pilipino, Susi sa Pag-unlad at Pagbabago.”

“Mahalagang bahagi ng ating pagkakakilanlan at kultura ang ating mga pagkain. Bukod sa isinasalaysay nito ang ating kwento bilang isang bansa, pinag-bubuklod rin nito ang ating diwa bilang mga Pilipino,” Legarda said in a recent statement.

“Dahil sa archipelagic nature ng ating bansa, sadyang magkakaiba ang ating mga pagkaing nakasanayan at ating mga panlasa, at ito ang dapat nating pagyamanin at ipakilala sa ibang rehiyon at ibang bansa,” she added.

Legarda, who authored House Bill No. 10551 or the proposed Philippine Culinary Heritage Act, said one way to preserve Filipino food heritage is to conduct mapping and documentation of such heritage.

“Kapag nagsagawa tayo ng mapping at documentation, magkakaroon tayo ng oportunidad na pag-aralan ang iba’t ibang pagkain mula sa iba’t-ibang rehiyon na naglalarawan ng kasaysayan at kultura ng partikular na rehiyon. Maraming mga putahe o recipe ang naipasa mula sa mga unang henerasyon ang ngayon ay ine-enjoy pa din ng mga Pilipino, habang ang iba naman ay ginawan ng iba’t-ibang version. Ito ang nararapat na pagyamanin sa tulong na rin ng ating magagaling na research chef at iba pang culinary professional,” she added.

Once enacted into law, H.B. No. 10551 will mandate the concerned agencies, including the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Science and Technology, and the Department of Tourism, to conduct food heritage mapping and regional culinary identity mapping, and identify and record tangible culinary resources making use of geographic tools.

H.B. No. 10551 will also establish the Committee on Philippine Gastronomy and Culinary Heritage, which will be responsible for the formulation and promulgation of policies, plans, and programs to ensure the further development, enrichment, propagation, promotion, and preservation of Filipino cuisine, Filipino culinary heritage, heirloom food, and gastronomy.

Legarda also said another way to preserve local food heritage and promote food security is to provide the necessary support for agriculture and fisheries, especially for small farmers and urban gardeners, and to promote traditional cooking methods using heirloom ingredients.

“Ipinakita ng COVID-19 pandemic kung gaano ka-vulnerable ang ating mga food supply chain, at kung paano sa isang iglap ay maaaring malagay sa alanganin ang food at nutritional safety ng milyun-milyon nating mga kababayan. Kung susuportahan natin ang ating mga magsasaka at mga mangingisda, magkakaroon tayo ng matibay na pundasyon at solusyon para sa ating problema sa food security at sustainability ng ating mga food sources,” she said.

“This will enable us to have a sustainable and resilient food system, which can also help preserve our culinary heritage,” Legarda added.

Legarda, a backyard farmer herself, is a co-author of the Organic Agriculture Act under RA 10068, which provides for the establishment of the National Organic Agricultural Program; the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act, which requires banks to allocate 25 percent of their loanable funds to the agriculture sector; and, the Rural Farm Schools Act, which provides for the establishment of Rural Farm Schools. She is also a co-sponsor of the Philippine Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Act, which strengthens the practice of agricultural engineering in the country by having such practice align with internationally-recognized practices of agricultural and biosystems engineering.