Almost all Filipino families received food assistance, mostly from the government, amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, according to the latest survey by polling firm Social Weather Stations (SWS).
SWS, in its May 4 to 10 survey, revealed that 99 percent of the households “received food-help since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis.”
“Government was the most common source of food-help at 99 percent, followed by relatives at 22 percent, private groups or institutions like churches and non-government organizations at 16 percent, friends at 10 percent, and private individuals at 8 percent,” the survey read.
SWS found that around 4.2 million families went hungry in the past three months.
The SWS poll noted that 16.7 percent or about 4.2 million households experienced involuntary hunger from January to March “due to lack of food to eat.”
The latest hunger incidence was “nearly double” the 8.8 percent or 2.1 million families registered in December 2019 and the “highest” since the 22 percent or 4.8 million recorded in September 2014, SWS said.
At least 13.9 percent or 3.5 million out of the 4.2 million families experienced “moderate” hunger, while the remaining 2.8 percent or 699,000 households endured “severe” hunger.
Families experience “moderate” hunger if they go hungry “only once” or a “few times,” while they suffer “severe” hunger if they are hungry “often” or “always,” SWS said.
“Moderate” and “severe” hunger both rose from 7.3 percent (1.8 million) and 1.5 percent (643,000), respectively, posted in December 2019.
SWS attributed the higher hunger rate to the increases in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.
Hunger in Metro Manila rose to 20.8 percent or 693,000 families from December 2019’s 9.3 percent or 307,000 families.
The latest hunger incidence in Balance Luzon was 12.6 percent or 1.4 million families, higher than the 6.3 percent or 688,000 families recorded in December last year.
Hunger rate also rose in the Visayas (14.6 percent or 685,000 families from 9.3 percent or 436,000 families) and Mindanao (24.2 percent or 1.4 million families from 12.7 percent or 709,000 families).
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace was saddened that there was a huge spike in the number of Filipino families who went hungry in the past three months.
Roque ensured that the government would exhaust all efforts to help Filipino households who are experiencing hunger amid the Covid-19 crisis.
“Talaga pong nakakalungkot iyan kaya nga po lahat ginagawa natin para magbigay ng ayuda sa ating mga mamamayan (It’s really saddening but we are doing everything to assist our fellow countrymen),” he said in a television interview.
SWS poll interviewed some 4,010 Filipinos aged 15 and above using mobile phones and computer-assisted telephones.
It used sampling error margins of ±2 percentage points for national percentages, ±6 percentage points for Metro Manila, ±2 percentage points for Balance Luzon, and ±3 percentage points each for the Visayas and Mindanao. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA)