SWS: More Pinoy families go hungry in 2nd quarter

MANILA, Philippines – A million more Filipino households grew hungry in the 2nd quarter, pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) said in a new report.

The latest SWS survey, first published by SWS' media partner BusinessWorld, showed 4.9 million families or 22.7% of respondents claimed they experienced going hungry during the period April to June 2013. 

This was up from the March survey's 3.9 million families or 19.2%.

"The hungry proportion rose, even though the self-rated poor proportion fell between March and June 2013, because hunger rose sharply among the poor," BusinessWorld quoted SWS as saying.

The survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults from June 28-30 and used error margins of ±3% for national and ±6% for regional percentages.

Moderate and extreme hunger

Screengrab from the Social Weather Station website.

Screengrab from the Social Weather Station website.

Respondents were asked if they experienced hunger “only once or a few times” (moderate hunger) or “often or always” (extreme hunger).

The survey showed that during the 2nd quarter, the number of families who experienced moderate hunger rose to 3.7 million (17.3%) from 3.2 million (15.6%) during the last quarter.

Those who experienced extreme hunger also rose to 1.2 million families (5.4%) from 726,000 (3.6%) families.

The percentage of hungry households among the poor rose to 33.4% from 25.5%, while the percentage of hungry families among the "borderline" and non-poor went up to 12.6% from 12.2%.

Regional hunger

Screengrab from the Social Weather Station website.

Screengrab from the Social Weather Station website.

The survey results also revealed that hunger increased nationwide, except in Mindanao where the percentage of families who experienced moderate hunger decreased to 14% from 22.7%. Those who felt severe hunger also decreased to 3% from 6.7%.

Luzon, except Metro Manila, had the highest recorded increase in the number of hungry families – the percentage of those who experienced moderate hunger rose to 18.3% from 12%; and severe hunger, to 7.7% from 2.7%.

In Metro Manila, the percentage of households that felt moderate hunger inched up to 18% from 17.3%, and severe hunger, to 5.7% from 4.3%. 

Statistically insignificant?

National Statistical Coordination Board Secretary-General Jose Ramon Albert noted in an e-mail to Rappler that SWS survey results had a ±3 margin of error for national percentages.

"So the 'rise' in the number of Filipinos who are experiencing hunger is not due to the rise in rates but due to population growth," he said.

Albert said for any change to be considered "significant," a 6-percentage point difference is needed.

"Much of the trends - increases and decreases - are really all just noise, not real signals," he said.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda nonetheless assured the public "we are committed to improving the lives of the poor by providing them with access to opportunities and the means to uplift themselves." – Rappler.com