An estimated three million Filipino families, or 11.8 percent of Filipino families, experienced involuntary hunger in the last quarter of 2021.
A survey done by pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) shows an 11.8-percent hunger rate in December 2021, higher than the 10 percent, or about 2.5 million families, in September 2021.
It is, however, lower than the 16.8 percent in May 2021 and 13.6 percent in June 2021.
“The resulting annual average Hunger rate for 2021 is 13.1% versus the record-high 21.1% for 2020. However, this is still above the 9.3% annual average for 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the SWS in a statement.
On Saturday, the presidential palace acknowledged that the government needs to do “much more” to protect citizens from hunger and poverty.
“We consider this recent SWS figure a clear indication of the positive impact of the programs of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger,” said Presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar.
He said the Task Force created by President Rodrigo Duterte initiated the creation of the “Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty” and pilot feeding programs under the “First 1000 Days of Life.”
It also launched the “Pilipinas Kontra Gutom,” formulated the Philippine Multi-sectoral Nutrition Project Proposal for the World Bank, Gulayan sa Barangay at sa Pamayanan programs, and various livelihood projects aimed at uplifting the lives of farmers and fisherfolk.
The SWS survey was conducted from December 12 to 16 using face-to-face interviews of 1,440 adults. Respondents were asked if they have experienced involuntary hunger in the past three months.
SWS said the December 2021 hunger rate is the sum of 9.2 percent or 2.3 million families who experienced “moderate hunger” and 2.6 percent or 657,000 families who experienced “severe hunger.”
SWS said those who experienced moderate hunger are those who suffered from hunger only once or a few times in the last three months. Meanwhile, severe hunger is for those who experienced it often or always in the last three months.