By Ellalyn de Vera Ruiz
Slightly more Filipino families are saying they have experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months, based on the second quarter of 2019 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey results.
In the nationwide survey conducted last June 22-26 with 1,200 respondents, SWS found that 10 percent or an estimated 2.5 million families experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months.
Hunger refers to involuntary suffering as the survey question specifies that the hunger experienced was due to lack of food to eat.
The latest figure is slightly higher than the 9.5 percent or an estimated 2.3 million families in March 2019.
By area, the nationwide quarterly hunger incidence of 10 percent consisted of 15.7 percent in Metro Manila (520,000 families), 9.3 percent (1 million families) in the rest of Luzon, 8.7 percent (409,000 families) in Visayas, and 9 percent in Mindanao (508,000 families).
SWS explained that the 10 percent national hunger rate was the sum of 8.7 percent (2.1 million families) who experienced moderate hunger and 1.3 percent (320,000 families) who experienced severe hunger.
Moderate hunger refers to those who experienced hunger “only once” or “a few times” in the last three months, while severe hunger refers to those who experienced it “often” or “always” in the last three months.
During the survey, SWS found that moderate hunger rate increased slightly from 8.1 percent (2 million families) in March to 8.7 percent in June, while severe hunger rate remained at 1.3 percent (320,000 families).
Moderate hunger in Metro Manila increased from 9.4 percent in March to 13.7 percent in June, while severe hunger slightly declined from 2.2 percent to 2 percent.
In the rest of Luzon, moderate hunger fell only slightly from 8.6 percent in March to 8.3 percent in June. Severe hunger also fell from 1.7 percent to 1.0 percent.
Moderate hunger in Visayas went down from 9.2 percent in March to 8 percent in June, while severe hunger slightly declined from 0.8 percent to 0.7 percent in June.
In Mindanao, moderate hunger went up from 5.6 percent in March to 7 percent in June, while severe hunger went up from 0.6 percent in March to 2 percent in June.
SWS pointed out that the rise in nationwide hunger rate came after a decrease of 3.8 percentage points within the previous three quarters.
From 13.3 percent (3.1 million families) in September 2018, it subsided to 10.5 percent (2.4 million families) in December, and then to 9.5 percent (2.3 million) in March 2019.
However, the increase happened only among the self-rated poor and self-rated food poor families. Self-rated poverty measures the proportion of respondents rating their family as poor or “mahirap,” while self-rated food-poverty measures the proportion of respondents rating the food their family eats as poor or “mahirap.”
Among self-rated poor families, hunger rate went up from 11.9 percent in March (1.1 million families) to 16.2 percent (1.8 million families) in June.
But it went down among self-rated non-poor families from 7.9 percent (1.2 million families) in March to 4.9 percent (664,000) in June.
Among self-rated food poor families, it went up from 14.2 percent (959,000 families) to 17.3 percent (1.5 million families).
In contrast, it went down among self-rated non-food poor families from 7.7 percent (1.3 million families) to 6.1 percent (985,000 families).