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ARGENTINA | 06-09-2019 08:51

Opposition to force special session to declare "nutritional emergency"

Potential legislation could include 100 percent budget increase in nutritional programs, create registries for community kitchens and ship food to schools and poor families.

Peronist factions within the Frente de Todos coalition advanced on Thursday with the consolidation of various bills that propose Congress declare a "nutritional emergency."

They now believe they command enough support to call for a special session of Congress next week.

Following Wednesday’s occupation by social movements and labour groups of various points throughout Buenos Aires, most eye-catchingly Avenida 9 de Julio, opposition lawmakers in the lower house Chamber of Deputies decided to fuse five active bills together. 

The compromise includes a call for a special session, if the government refuses to respond to requests for the declaration of a nutritional emergency, amid Argentina's economic crisis. The country is gripped by recession, with soaring inflation and a weakening currency.

The head of the Confederación de Trabajadores de la Economía Popular (CTEP)  labour grouping, Juan Grabois, called on the government to declare an emergency immediately. 

Deputies Leonardo Grosso (Movimiento Evita), Daniel Arroyo (Red por Argentina), Victoria Donda (Somos) y Carla Pitiot (Frente Renovador) came together to polish the cohesive legislation, which calls for a "100 percent" increase for "distinct programme related to nutrition.” 

Furthermore, the bill delegates “extraordinary responsibilities” to Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña to “affect [the] budget restructuring necessary to provide the additional required funds.” 

The Frente para la Victoria grouping also closed rank behind the bill, assuring fellow opposition lawmakers Wednesday that they had garnered enough support from Consenso Federal to call an emergency session. 

With President Mauricio Macri's Cambiemos coalition in the minority, the opposition could reach quorum as early as next Thursday, forcing the Government onto the back foot and prompting it to address food poverty.

“The nutritional emergency is evident, hunger increases every day, yet the government looks the other way,” stated the head of the Movimiento Evita bloc, Leonardo Grosso on Wednesday. 

Beyond clearing the way for budgetary increases to fund nutritional programmes, the bill would also create a National Council for Food and Nutritional Security, to monitor efforts and ensure the participation by social movements and food producers.

The bill also declares a "lactose emergency," a Community Kitchens and Picnic Register, and a Food Providers National Register. 

Other measures include the purchase of food in bulk for shipment to schools and community kitchens, as well as direct assistance for families living in a state of social vulnerability.  




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