SWS: Hunger incidence lowest in 13 years

HUNGER incidence in the Philippines reached its lowest level since March 2004, according to the latest poll conducted by Social Weather Stations.

The June 23 to 26 survey found that 9.5 percent or an estimated 2.2 million families experienced “involuntary" hunger at least once in the past three months.

The total hunger rate recorded in June was 2.4 percentage points down from 11.9 percent or an estimated 2.7 million families in March 2017 and 5.7 percentage points lower than 15.2 percent or 3.4 million families in June 2016.

It was also the lowest score as it fell to single-digit level for the first time in 13 years since March 2004’s hunger rating of 7.4 percent.

SWS said the single-digit hunger rate in the second quarter of 2017 is the total of those who experienced “moderate” hunger or lacking food to eat “only once” or “a few times,” and those who experienced “severe” hunger or who had nothing to eat “often” or “always.”

“The few who did not state their frequency of hunger were classified under ‘moderate’ hunger,” it said.

The poll showed that 7.9 percent or an estimated 1.8 million families experienced “moderate” hunger in the last three months, 1.9 percentage points below the 9.7 percent or 2.2 million families registered in March. It was the lowest reading since March 2004’s 4.6 percent.

On the other hand, “severe” hunger declined to 1.6 percent or an estimated 374,000 families from March’s 2.2 percent or 510,000 families. This was the lowest score recorded since September 2016’s 1.5 percent.

Hunger rate among self-rated poor was down by 3.5 percentage points to 13.6 percent in the past three months, compared to 17.1 percent posted in the first three months of 2017.

Hunger rate among self-rated food poor fell by 3.6 percentage points from March’s 20.7 percent to June’s 17.1 percent.

Hunger scores were “virtually unchanged” across all geographic areas, slipping only by 0.4 percentage point to 11.3 percent (estimated 593,000 families) in Mindanao; 0.7 percentage point to 11.3 percent (estimated 353,000 families) in Metro Manila; three percentage points to 8.3 percent (848,000 families) in Balance Luzon; and five percentage points to 8.7 percent (383,000 families) in Visayas.

In a press conference, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the government was “pleased” about the latest poll results that showed the lowest hunger level among Filipino families.

Abella assured the public that the government would strive hard to bring about a “comfortable life.”

“We certainly made significant headways in alleviating poverty and bringing prosperity in our first year in office. Much needs to be done but with the full support of all sector, we can make a comfortable life all a reality,” Abella said. (SunStar Philippines)
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