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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

SWS: Record 3.8-M families experienced hunger

Last updated 06:42am (Mla time) 10/02/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- A record high 3.8-million families (21.5 percent) experienced “involuntary hunger” at least once in the last three months, according to the latest survey by the Social Weather Stations.

This figure surpassed the previous record of 19 percent in November 2006 and February 2007, SWS said in a statement on Monday.

‘National deterioration’

“The new household hunger score is almost 10 points above the 11.8 percent average in 38 quarterly surveys from mid-1998 to the present” which the SWS called a “national deterioration” due to record hunger numbers in Luzon (22.3 percent) and the Visayas (21.7 percent).

The September 2007 survey also found that moderate hunger, which refers to families who experienced involuntary hunger “only once” or “a few times” in the last three months, also rose to a record high, from 12.5 percent in June to 17.4 percent in the latest survey.

Those who reported having experienced “severe hunger,” or hunger “often” or “always,” in the last three months also rose from 2.2 percent in June to 4.1 percent in September.

Across areas, overall hunger rose by 10 percentage points in the rest of Luzon (from 12 percent in June to 22.3 percent in September) and by 9 percentage points in the Visayas (from 12.3 percent to 21.7 percent). In Mindanao, it rose 4 percentage points (from 17.7 percent to 22 percent).

Moderate hunger

Overall hunger in Metro Manila, meanwhile, declined 4 percentage points, from the record 22 percent in June to 17.7 percent in September.

Moderate hunger also declined in Metro Manila, from 17.7 percent to 12 percent, while it rose in all other areas -- from 9.3 percent to 18 percent in the rest of Luzon, from 10.7 percent to 17.3 percent in the Visayas, and from 17 percent to 19.7 percent in Mindanao.

On the other hand, severe hunger rose across all areas: In Mindanao, from a low of 0.7 percent to 2.3 percent; in Luzon, from 2.7 percent to 4.3 percent; in the Visayas, from 1.7 percent to 4.3 percent, and in Metro Manila, from 4.3 percent to 5.7 percent.

The survey question on household hunger was directed to household heads who were asked whether the family had, in the last three months, “experienced hunger and did not have anything to eat.”

Conducted from Sept. 2 to 5, the survey used face-to-face interviews with 1,200 statistically representative household heads divided into random samples of 300 each in Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Kate Pedroso, Inquirer Research