More work needed to reduce hunger, admits Palace

Rappler.com

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An SWS survey shows hunger levels increased in December 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang admitted on Tuesday, January 31, that the government needs to do more to reduce hunger levels in the country.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte made the admission in response to the findings of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) that hunger levels increased in December last year, or  to 22.5 percent from 21.5 percent in September 2011.

“A lot still remains to be done. This is a problem that cannot be solved overnight and we recognize the fact that we need to continue pressing on these programs to make sure that [the help] goes down to those who truly need it,” Valte said.

She said the government would “continue to aggressively pursue programs to address the needs of vulnerable sectors” such as the expanded coverage of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or the government’s conditional cash transfer program which has been allotted a budget of P39.5-B this year.

Other programs are the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Filipino Citizens, the Supplemental Feeding Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS).

“We are also pursuing inter-agency convergence on the part of DSWD, DepEd, DOH, and DILG to ensure that household-beneficiaries avail of education and healthcare services. These are investments in human capital development that enable the people to take charge of their lives,” Valte said.

Valte also said that even though there was a slight increase in hunger levels during the comparative survey period, the SWS survey results in the third and fourth quarter of 2011 were “statistically identical.”

She added that there was a “noticeable decrease” in self rated poverty, to 45 percent from 52 percent in the same survey period.
She said that the 7-percentage point decrease in self-rated poverty “indicates that policies to promote inclusive growth are beginning to take effect.” – Rappler.com

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