By Ellalyn de Vera Ruiz
Fewer Filipino families felt involuntary hunger due to lack of food in the past three months, results of the fourth quarter 2018 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.
The nationwide survey conducted last Dec. 16-19, 2018, with 1,440 respondents found that 10.5 percent, or an estimated 2.4 million families, experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months.
This is 2.8 points lower than the 13.3 percent or an estimated 3.1 million families in the third quarter of 2018.
SWS pointed out that the average hunger rate of 10.8 percent for the full year of 2018 is 1.5 points below the 12.3 percent in 2017. It is also the lowest annual average hunger rate since 7 percent in 2003.
The 10.5 percent quarterly hunger registered in December 2018 is the sum of 8.9 percent (estimated 2.1 million families) which experienced moderate hunger and 1.5 percent (estimated 354,000 families) which 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.
The few who did not state their frequency of hunger were classified under moderate hunger.
The nationwide quarterly hunger rate consisted of hunger in Metro Manila at 18.3 percent (581,000 families), the rest of Luzon at 9.7 percent (1 million families), Visayas at 9.2 percent (411,000 families), and Mindanao at 8.3 percent (443,000 families).
Quarterly hunger rose by one point in Metro Manila, from 17.3 percent (549,000 families) in September 2018 to 18.3 percent in December 2018. This is the third consecutive increase in the incidence of hunger in Metro Manila, having risen by a total of 12.3 points for the whole of 2018.
This gives Metro Manila an average hunger rate of 13.7 percent for 2018, 1.3 points above the 12.4 percent in 2017. This is the highest since the 16.6 percent in 2015.
Moderate hunger in Metro Manila rose by 1.7 points, from 13 percent in September to 14.7 percent in December.
However, severe hunger in Metro Manila decreased by 0.7 points, from 4.3 percent in September to 3.6 percent in December.
Meanwhile, quarterly hunger decreased by three points in the rest of Luzon, from 12.7 percent in September to 9.7 percent in December.
This gives the rest of Luzon an average hunger rate of 10.2 percent for 2018, 2.6 points below the 12.8 percent in 2017. This is the lowest since the 9.4 percent in 2004.