Self-rated poverty, hunger down in Q1 – survey

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Self-rated poverty, hunger down in Q1 � survey
Residents go about their daily routines in the urban community in Binondo, Manila on April 23, 2024.
Edd Gumban / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines —  Around 11.1 million Filipino families considered themselves poor in the first quarter of the year, a slight drop from 11.9 million at the end of 2023, an OCTA Research group survey showed.

From 45 percent in December 2023, self-rated poverty dropped to 42 percent in the March 11 to 14 survey.

Only 12 percent rated their families “not poor,” while 47 percent said they cannot say if they are poor or not.

The decrease in self-rated poverty was due to a 10-point drop among respondents in balance Luzon, combined with a slight increase in Mindanao and stable numbers in Metro Manila and the Visayas.

Self-rated poverty remained highest among those in Mindanao at 71 percent (from 68 percent), followed by the Visayas at 47 percent (similar to previous survey), Metro Manila at 29 percent (from 28 percent) and the rest of Luzon at 28 percent (from 38 percent).

The survey also found that 37 percent of respondents considered their families as “food-poor” or those who “struggle to obtain a sufficient and healthful diet.”

It went down from 42 percent in the December 2023 survey.

Only 16 percent rated their families as “not food-poor,” while the remaining 47 percent were on the borderline.

Across areas, self-rated food poverty was highest among respondents in Mindanao at 74 percent (from 71 percent), followed by the Visayas at 34 percent (from 48 percent), Metro Manila at 25 percent (from 26 percent) and the rest of Luzon at 24 percent (from 30 percent).

In terms of involuntary hunger, those who experienced not having anything to eat at least once in the past three months before the survey period decreased from 14 percent in December 2023 to 11 percent in March 2024.

This translates to an estimated decrease from 3.7 million to 2.9 million families, OCTA said.

Involuntary hunger was highest among those in the Visayas at 13 percent (from 19 percent), followed by Mindanao at 12 percent (from 18 percent) and Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon at nine percent (from eight and 11 percent, respectively).

Of those who said their families experienced hunger in the past three months, 68 percent said they experienced it only once, 21 percent a few times, eight percent often and two percent always.

OCTA’s Tugon ng Masa survey had 1,200 respondents and a three percent margin of error.

Social protection

The survey results are a welcome development, the Department of Social Welfare and Development yesterday said as it promised the agency – under DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian’s leadership – will strengthen social protection programs and services.

“We, in the DSWD, are happy with the survey results and will continue to strengthen our social protection programs to continue to improve the lives of our kababayans,” said DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao.

The DSWD expects the conditional cash transfer Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and the Walang Gutom 2027: Food Stamp Program to contribute to the government’s initiatives against poverty and hunger.

The food stamp program’s implementation will be scaled up this July, from 3,000 to 300,000 beneficiaries nationwide. . – Delon Porcalla

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