Palace: Government not remiss in addressing hunger
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - September 29, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government has not been remiss in helping sectors affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Malacañang said yesterday following the release of a poll indicating that more Filipinos experienced involuntary hunger in the past three months.

A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted from Sept. 17 to 20 showed that the proportion of families that suffered involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months hit a new record high of 30.7 percent or about 7.6 million households.

The hunger trend has been increasing since May, according to SWS, which conducted the poll using mobile phone and computer-assisted interviews of 1,249 adult Filipinos nationwide.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said quarantine restrictions have disrupted the livelihood of workers.

He noted that Metro Manila, which contributes a huge chunk of the country’s economic output, has been under general community quarantine for a long time. Only half of the economy is open under GCQ.

“This news is saddening. That’s why we are reopening the economy, to reduce the number of people who experience hunger,” Roque said at a press briefing.

He said the government has launched programs to provide livelihood to workers affected by the pandemic.

Roque added the government also allowed some modes of public transportation to resume operations so workers could go to work.

“We have not been remiss with regard to the obligation of the state to help workers,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon expressed alarm over the increasing number of Filipinos who experienced hunger.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said the 30.7-percent hunger incidence was expected since many people lost their jobs due to the pandemic. – Paolo Romero, Evelyn Macairan

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