THE proportion of Filipino families experiencing "involuntary" hunger declined to 9.5 percent, or an estimated 2.3 million, in the first quarter of 2019, based on the latest poll conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).
The SWS poll, conducted from March 28 to 31, found that hunger incidence from January to March 2019 was one percentage point lower from December 2018's 10.5 percent.
The survey said 8.1 percent, or estimated two million families, experienced "moderate" hunger while 1.3 percent, or estimated 327,000 families, endured "severe" hunger.
"Moderate" hunger and "severe" hunger fell by 0.8 percentage point and 1.3 percentage points, from 8.9 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, recorded in December last year.
The SWS attributed the lower hunger incidence to decreases in Metro Manila and Mindanao, and increases in Balance Luzon and the Visayas.
Hunger dropped by 6.6 percentage points in Metro Manila (11.7 percent or estimated 387,000 families from 18.3 percent or estimated 581,000 families) and by 2.2 percentage points in Metro Manila.
Meantime, hunger incidence in Balance Luzon and the Visayas rose by 0.6 percentage point (10.3 percent or estimated 1.1 million families from 9.7 percent or one million families) and 0.8 percentage point (10 percent or 472,000 families from 9.2 percent or estimated 411,000 families), respectively.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace was "pleased" to know that the families experiencing hunger have decreased in the past three months.
Panelo said the current administration is apparently "off to a good start," stressing that "much have been done in the first three years" of President Rodrigo Duterte.
"These figures indicate that the President's sincere efforts in addressing soaring prices and running a bureaucracy that efficiently delivers basic services to the poor and marginalized are beginning to bear fruits and now being felt by our countrymen," he said on Thursday, April 25.
"While many Filipino families remain in poverty and continue to experience hunger, the Chief Executive has been working tirelessly in improving the socioeconomic status of millions of Filipinos for them to lead a more comfortable, secure and prosperous life," he added.
With "workaholic and compassionate" Duterte at the helm, much more would be accomplished in the Chief Executive's last three years, Panelo said.
"President Duterte's incomparable political will and decisive leadership resulted in the following pro-poor social amelioration programs," he said
SWS interviewed some 1,440 adults Filipinos, using sampling error margins of ±2.6 percentage points for national percentages, and ±5 percentage points each for Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao. (SunStar Philippines)