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Aquino finds flaw in hunger survey

URDANETA, Pangasinan, Philippines—(UPDATE) The findings of the SWS survey on hunger incidence would have been more positive if more respondents in the Visayas and Mindanao were interviewed, President Benigno Aquino III told reporters on Friday.

Twenty-and-a-half percent of 1,200 respondents in a survey conducted from March 4 to 7 claimed to have gone hungry at least once in the previous three months. Business World, the paper that exclusively reported on the SWS survey, said the figure was up from the 18.1 percent recorded in November last year.

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“I myself can’t reconcile that sometimes,” Mr. Aquino said, referring to the contrasting survey findings and the claimed achievements of the government’s programs to generate employment and reduce poverty.

President Aquino said the bulk of the data in the SWS survey came from Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon.

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He said that 400,000 new beneficiaries of the government’s conditional cash transfer program, or CCT, were from the Visayas and Mindanao but this was not reflected in the survey.

“It so happened that the statistical sample used didn’t capture the ones helped by the CCT. If it was reversed, the result would have been skewed to show that more people experienced their hunger being alleviated,” Mr. Aquino said.

The President said the CCT was first rolled out in the Visayas and Mindanao because the poverty incidence was more serious in those areas compared with Metro Manila and Luzon.

He said an additional 1.3 million families would be added to the cash transfer program in the coming weeks.

Shortly after Aquino took office, his government said he hoped to cut the number of people living on a dollar a day or less to 16 percent of the population by 2015.

Just over 23 million Filipinos — or 26.5 percent of the population — survived on P46.14 ($1.04) a day or less, according to a government survey in 2009.

With reports from Agence France-Presse

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Government, opinion surveys, Poverty
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