MANILA, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) More Philippine people said their families experienced hunger in the last three months, rising to 13.9 percent or an estimated 3.1 million families in December from 10.6 percent or some 2.4 million families in September last year, the fourth quarter survey of a local independent survey institute showed.
The survey conducted by the Social Weather Station (SWS), which involved 1,500 respondents nationwide and had a margin of error of +/-
1.5 percent, showed that 10.9 percent (or an estimated 2.5 million families) experienced “moderate hunger” and while 3 percent (an estimated 673,000 families) experienced “severe hunger” which resulted in a hunger rate of 13.9 percent (the sum of the moderate and sever hunger ratings).
SWS defines moderate hunger as those who experienced hunger only once or a few times in the last three months, while severe hunger refers to those who experienced hunger often or always in the last three months.
The 13.9 percent total hunger rate is higher than the 10.6 percent hunger rate recorded in September (9.1 percent moderate hunger, 1.5 percent severe hunger) and the 11.7 percent hunger rate in December 2015 (8.9 percent moderate hunger, 2.8 percent severe hunger).
Meanwhile, more households from the Visayas or 16.7 percent or an estimated 724,000 families (up from 13 percent) said they felt hunger in the last three months. The second highest hunger rate was recorded in Luzon with 15 percent or an estimated 1.5 million families (from 11.7 percent) followed by those from Metro Manila – which had the highest increase or by 5.7 percentage points – to 13 percent or an estimated 399,000 families (from 7.3 percent).
Hunger also went up in Mindanao to 10 percent or an estimated 515,000 families (up from 8.3 percent).
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the latest result is a “gentle reminder” that the government needs to continue to work double time to implement socio-economic reforms.
Abella said the spike was also influenced by the food price inflation that was triggered by the weather disturbances that happened before the survey was conducted, and the seasonal demand of food items during the Christmas holidays.
“Remember that the President’s administration – present administration has only been in place for about six months. It needs to address long standing economic backlogs… We’d like to assure the nation, the people, that the President… the inclusive prosperity is definitely part of the President’s agenda…There’s a lot of groundwork to be done considering the fact that the administration is new. However, all efforts are being poured towards this. And inclusive prosperity is part of the President’s agenda,” he added.
According to the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority, the poverty incidence among Filipinos registered at 21.6 percent in 2015, or more than 26 million Filipinos remain poor with almost half, or a little more than 12 million, living in extreme poverty and lacking the means to feed themselves.