Hunger lowest in 10 years – SWS

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A week ahead of President Benigno Aquino III’s last of the State of the Nation Address, survey results showed that hunger fell to 12.7% or about 2.8 million families in the second quarter of 2015, the lowest since May 2005.

Results of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, first published in BusinessWorld, showed 10.8% or 2.4 million families experienced “moderate hunger” while 1.9% or 431,000 families experienced “severe hunger.”

SWS defines “moderate hunger” as experience of hunger “only once” or “a few times” in the last three months and “severe hunger” as “often” or “always” in the same period.

While the second quarter rate was the lowest hunger level in a decade, it was just slightly lower than March’s 13.5%.

Metro Manila had the highest hunger incidence, increasing from 12.7% in March to 18.3% in June.

Visayas followed next, as its hunger rate rose to 11.7% from March’s 11%.

The remaining areas of Luzon, however, had slightly better numbers as hunger fell to 10.7% from 14.3%.

On the other hand, hunger in Mindanao remained at 14.3% as recorded in March.

The survey was conducted from June 5 to 8 among 1,200 adults nationwide. Sampling error is pegged at 3% for national level and 6% per area.

Malacañang welcomed results of the SWS survey ahead of Aquino’s last SONA on July 27. (READ: The Hunger Project)

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte attributed the decline in hunger to the Aquino administration’s conditional cash transfer program, which now covers 4.4 million households.

“The program is an example of the government’s commitment to the Filipino people, as it embodies concrete investments in human development, empowering beneficiaries, and their families to better care for themselves,” Valte said in a statement.

But Vice President Jejomar Binay's camp said the administration should go easy on "gloating" over the survey results. After all, they say, the fact remains that there are still 2.8 millions of Filipinos who experiene hunger.

Binay's spokesman Joey Salgado further said the administration has only five months to reach the 17.2% poverty rate target in the Millienium Development Goals. 

"Hinahanap nila ang pamahalaan na may malasakit sa mahihirap, hindi manhid at palpak. The people hunger for a government that truly cares for them and leaders with a proven track record of helping the people," Salgado said in a statement.

(The people are looking for a government that cares for the poor, not a callous and failed government. The people hunger for a government that truly cares for them and leaders with a proven track record of helping the people.) – Camille Elemia/Rappler.com