SWS: Half a million Pinoys hungrier
ELIMINATING hunger is one of the many challenges facing the newly installed Duterte administration as the number of Filipino families that said they went hungry between December and April rose by about half a million, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
The SWS survey also showed that the rise in hunger was most pronounced in Mindanao, where new President Rodrigo Duterte hails from.
The survey, taken from March 30 to April 2, found 13.7 percent, or some 3.1 million households, saying that they experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the last three months—2 points higher than the 11.7 percent, or an estimated 2.6 million families, at the end of 2015 when hunger incidence dipped to its lowest level in 11 years.
The first quarter overall hunger figure was basically unchanged from last year’s annual average of 13.4 percent and March 2015’s 13.5 percent.
The SWS survey, first published in BusinessWorld on Monday, used face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adult respondents nationwide and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for national percentages.
Moderate to severe
SWS asked respondents in Filipino: “In the last three months, did it happen even once that your family experienced hunger and did not have anything to eat?” Those who answered in the affirmative were further asked: “Did it happen ‘only once,’ ‘a few times,’ ‘often’ or ‘always?’”
SWS classified experiencing hunger “only once” or “a few times” as “moderate hunger,” while going hungry “often” or “always” was rated as “severe hunger.”
“Moderate hunger” increased from 8.9 percent (2 million families) in December to 11.6 percent (2.6 million families) in April, while severe hunger barely moved from 2.8 percent (621,000 families) to 2.1 percent (481,000 families).
In its first quarter self-rated poverty survey released in May, SWS reported that families who considered themselves poor went down by four points from 50 percent in December to 46 percent in April.
Even as poverty fell, hunger among those who considered themselves poor, rose from 14.4 percent in December to 20.7 percent in April while hunger among those who considered themselves food-poor went up from 19.4 percent to 27.5 percent.
By area, the increase in hunger was most pronounced in Mindanao where 19 percent, or around 978,000 families, went hungry. This was about 320,000 families more than the 658,000 families or 13 percent saying they experienced hunger in December.