More Filipinos experience ‘involuntary hunger’ for lack of food

Published October 13, 2018, 10:30 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

More Filipino families have experienced involuntary hunger because of lack of food at least once in the past three months, results of the third quarter Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.

In the nationwide survey conducted last Sept. 15-23 among 1,500 respondents, SWS found that 13.3 percent or an estimated 3.1 million families experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months.


According to SWS, the measure of hunger refers to involuntary suffering because the respondents answered a survey question that specifies hunger due to lack of food to eat.

The latest figure is 3.9 points above the 9.4 percent or about 2.2 million families quarterly hunger in June 2018. This is the highest since the 15.9 percent in December 2017.

Hunger up in all areas except Visayas

The quarterly hunger rate rose by 4.3 points in Metro Manila, from 13 percent (412,000 families) in June 2018 to 17.3 percent in September 2018 (549,000); by 5.4 points in the rest of Luzon, from 7.3 percent (758,000 families) to 12.7 percent (1.3 million families); and by seven points in Mindanao, from 11.3 percent (604,000 families) to 18.3 percent (975,000 families).

Meanwhile, it fell by 3.3 points in Visayas, from 9.3 percent (419,000 families) in June to 6 percent (269,000 families).

Moderate versus severe hunger

The third quarter 2018 hunger rate is composed of 10.6 percent (2.5 million families) who experienced moderate hunger and 2.8 percent (643,000 families) who experienced severe hunger.

SWS refers to moderate hunger 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.

The few who did not state their frequency of hunger were classified under moderate hunger.

Moderate hunger increased by 2.5 points, from 8.1 percent in June to 10.6 percent in September. This is the highest since the 12.2 percent in December 2017.

It increased in Metro Manila by one point, from 12 percent in June to 13 percent September; by three points in the rest of Luzon, from 6 percent to 9 percent; and Mindanao by seven points from 9 percent to 16 percent.

It decreased by 3.3 points in the Visayas from 9.3 percent to 6 percent.

Meanwhile, quarterly severe hunger increased by 1.5 points, from 1.3 percent in June to 2.8 percent in September, and is the highest since the 3.7 percent in December 2017.

It increased by 3.3 points in Metro Manila, from 1 percent in June to 4.3 percent in September; and by 2.4 points in the rest of Luzon, from 1.3 percent to 3.7 percent.

However, it was unchanged in the Visayas at zero in June and September; and Mindanao at 2.3 percent.

Hunger rose among poor and non-poor

SWS pointed out that the 3.9-point rise in the quarterly hunger rate amid the four-point rise in self-rated poverty (survey results released last Oct. 9) between June and September 2018 was due to increases in the incidence of hunger among the self-rated poor and self-rated non-poor.

From June to September, quarterly hunger rose by 5.9 points among the self-rated poor, from 12.6 percent to 18.5 percent. This is the highest since December 2017.

It also increased by 1.1 points among the non-poor (not poor plus borderline) over the same period, going from 6.5 percent to 7.6 percent. This is the highest since December 2017.

Hunger also increased among the self-rated food poor, rising by 7.5 points from 14.8 percent in June to 22.3 percent in September.

It also increased by 1.5 points among the not food-poor/food-borderline, from 6.7 percent to 8.2 percent.

At any one point in time, SWS said quarterly hunger among the self-rated food-poor is always greater than hunger among the self-rated poor.