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ARGENTINA | 10-09-2019 15:47

Opposition unites to call for 'Food Emergency' session amid more protests

Politicians from across the opposition benches agreed Monday to unify their legislative projects on the topic into a single bill.

Lawmakers from various opposition blocks have formally presented a request for a special session in the lower house to discuss the declaration of a "Food Emergency" in Argentina.

Politicians from across the opposition benches agreed Monday to unify their legislative projects on the topic into a single bill, in a bid to ensure the President of the Chamber of Deputies Emilio Monzó move forward with the call for an emergency session.

Following a host of street protests and demonstrations called by social organisations and labour groups, lawmakers are hoping to pass a new bill to address growing poverty and food insecurity in Argentina. At present there are seven legislative projects seeking to declare a "food emergency," many of which have been awaiting congressional approval for almost two years.

Protests continued today, as striking workers from the members of the Asociación Trabajadores del Estado (ATE) (ATE) and the Central de Trabajadores de la Argentina (CTA-A) marched on the Plaza de Mayo to demand the reopening of wage negotiations and to support the 'Food Emergency' project.

Among other items, the initiative proposes the creation of a National Food and Nutrition Security Programme, the declaration  of the nutritional emergency until December 21, 2022, a 50 percent increase in funds dedicated to food items and the updating of said funds every three months. The prospective bill would increase budgets for snacks and lunches served in public schools and guarantee food to those aged under 16.

"It is a concern of the National State to guarantee permanently and as a priority the right to nutrition and food security and nutrition of the population of the Republic of Argentina, as established by Law 25.724 that creates the Programme for Food and National Nutrition," reads Article 2 of this bill.

The measure is supported by social organisations, union groupings and sectors of the Catholic Church. The Government objects to the bill, saying that it already meets the conditions laid down in the law.

The request was signed by lawmakers Felipe Solá, Carla Pitiot, Agustín Rossi, Leonardo Grosso, Daniel Arroyo, Victoria Donda, Pablo Kosiner, Alejandra Rodenas, José Luis Ramón, Andrés Vallone, Jorge Franco, Juan José Bahillo, Omar Félix,  Ivana Bianchi and Lucila de Ponti.

"Deputies and deputies of all caucuses present the request of a Special Session for this Thursday. We will deal with the Nutritional Emergency. We will not allow our children to go hungry for another day," said Leonardo Grosso, a member of the Movimiento Evita caucus.

Lavagna reiterates position

Consenso Federal presidential candidate Roberto Lavagna called on the Government to "make direct contact with reality" and support the proposed legislation.

Speaking Tuesday during a campaign stop in Quilmes, the former economy minister said his political grouping had been at the forefront of efforts to declare a nutritional emergency in Argentina.

"Unfortunately, from the Government there has been no reaction, despite the fact that I also sent a letter to the president [Mauricio Macri]. Fortunately, society was mobilised until it reached the point that the Government can no longer continue ignoring reality," he said.

"The Chamber is going to deal with the issue and this shows that if we all push together – although some look the other way – reality ends up imposing itself," said Lavagna.

"It is important to make direct contact with reality," he concluded, adding that the Nutritional Emergency proposal was something that "Consenso Federal has been doing for some time."

 

Macri huddles with ministers

Heading discussions over the lesiglative project, President Macri met today with Health and Social Development Minister Carolina Stanley and Production and Labour Minister Dante Sica

The head of state received the duo in his office at Government House, hours after Sica had met with the leadership of the CGT umbrella union group to discuss assistance for the most vulnerable sectors of society.

According to sources cited by Noticias Argentinas, the trio discussed the formalisation and extension of price-control programmes, such as Precios Ciudados.

– TIMES/NA

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