Does government see these increasing millions of hungry, poor Filipinos?

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - October 3, 2020 - 12:00am

“Kung hindi kami mamamatay sa COVID, mamamatay kami sa gutom.”

Jeepney drivers and other poor --not only those in the National Capital Region, but nationwide-- have repeatedly expressed this continuing real lament.

The latest September 17-20 Social Weather Stations survey results showed that 30.7% or 1 out of 3 Filipinos experienced involuntary hunger – hunger due to lack of food to eat – at least once in the past three months.

This SWS September 2020 result surpassed the previous peak of 23.8% in March 2012, “hunger up by 9.8 points from 20.9% in July 2020, by 14.0 points from 16.7% in May 2020, and by a total of 21.9 points from 8.8% in December 2019.”

SWS explained that “the 30.7% or an estimated 7.6 million households in September 2020 is the sum of moderate hunger (22.0% or about 5.5 million families who experienced hunger "only once" or "a few times" in the last three months) and severe hunger (8.7% or about 2.2 million families who experienced hunger "often" or "always" in the last three months).”

Of serious concern, SWS notes that “moderate hunger rose from 15.8% in July 2020 to a new record-high 22.0% (5.5 million families) in September 2020 surpassing the previous December 2009 record of 18.9%.”

Even more alarming and requiring urgent response, SWS confirms that the 2.2 million families who experienced “severe hunger often or always in the past three months rose from 5.1% in July 2020 to a new record-high 8.7% in September 2020, surpassing the previous March 2001 peak of 6.0%!”

Worse, the new record-high hunger is widespread throughout this country, in the Visayas, Mindanao, Metro Manila and increasing throughout the rest of Luzon!

Overall, SWS data showed that hunger rose in the Visayas, up from 27.2% (est. 1.3 million families) in July 2020 to a new record-high 40.7% (est. 1.9 million families) in September 2020 surpassing the previous peak of 27.9% in December 2009.

In the Visayas, moderate hunger “rose from 21.9% in July 2020 to a new record-high 22.0% in September 2020, surpassing the previous December 2011 record of 22.0%. Severe hunger also rose from 5.4% in July 2020 to a new record-high 15.0% in September 2020, surpassing the previous peak of 9.0% in March 2001.”

In Mindanao, the same record-high increase in hunger was noted, “up from 24.2% (est. 1.4 million families) in July 2020 to a new record-high 37.5% (est. 2.1 million families) in September 2020 which surpassed the previous record of 33.7% in December 2008.

Moderate hunger in Mindanao rose from 17.7% in July 2020 to 26.9% while severe hunger also rose from 6.5% in July 2020 to 10.6% in September 2020.

Metro Manila also had more hungry families, “up from 16.3% (est. 546,000 families) in July 2020 to a new record-high 28.2% (est. 941,000 families) in September 2020 which, again, surpassed the previous record of 27.0% in December 2009.

Moderate hunger in Metro Manila rose from 11.4% in July 2020 to 20.1% while severe hunger also rose from 4.9% in July 2020 to a new record-high 8.1% in September 2020, surpassing the previous record of 8.0% in March 2012 and September 2008.”

The rest of Luzon also saw more hungry families, “up from 17.8% (est. 2.0 million families) in July 2020 to 23.8% (est. 2.6 million families) in September 2020, the highest since the 24.3% in September 2014!

Moderate hunger rose from 13.6% in July 2020 to 18.6% while severe hunger also rose from 4.3% in July 2020 to 5.2% in September 2020!

Sadly, SWS notes that “Hunger incidence is higher among households of non-elementary graduate respondents, which rose from 35.6% in July 2020 to 47.7% in September 2020.”

cballescas@yahoo.com

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