Self-rated hunger in PH returns to downward trend at 9.9%

MANILA, Philippines – An estimated 2.3 million Filipino families or close to 10% (specifically 9.9%) of the population said they suffered hunger in the first quarter of 2018, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released on Monday, April 30.

The numbers showed significant improvement after a spike in the December 2017 survey, where self-rated hunger spiked to 15.9%.

The improvement means there were 3.6 million families less who suffered hunger in the first 3 months of 2018 compared to the last 3 months of last year. 

It has been below 15% since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office. It was lowest at 9.5% in June 2017 or a year into his term. (READ: Southeast Asia's poorest mostly Filipinos, Indonesians)

306,000 families suffered severe hunger

The 9.9% is the sum of 306,000 families "often" or "always" hungry (severe hunger) and about 2 million families who experienced hunger "only once" or "a few times" (moderate hunger).

Severe hunger fell from from 3.7% in the last 3 months of 2017. Moderate hunger fell from 12.2% in the December survey. 

The highest incidence of self-rated hunger was in Balance Luzon, where 1.1 million families said they suffered hunger at least once in the past 3 months. 

There were 190,000 families in Metro Manila, 583,000 families in the Visayas, and 390,000 families in Mindanao who said they suffered hunger. 

SWS said self-rated hunger fell in all areas. It fell by 8.7 points in Metro Manila, 6.7 points in Balance Luzon, 0.3 points in the Visayas, and 8.0 points in Mindanao.

Return to downward trend

The SWS survey measures the percentage of the population that said they experienced "involuntary hunger" – they didn't have food to eat – at least once in the past 3 months.

The 9.9% in the March 2018 survey shows a return hunger's downward trend. "This is only the second time hunger has been in the single-digit range since March 2004," SWS said in its report.

Self-rated hunger fluctuates but it has been mostly a single-digit number from 1998, when SWS started conducting the survey, until 2004, when it was 7.4%. 

It has been at double-digits since except in June 2017 and March 2018. The highest incidence of self-rated hunger was recorded by SWS in March 2012 at 23.8

The numbers improved beginning March 2015 when it was 16% or below.

The survey was conducted March 23-27 using face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adult respondents. 

The question asked was: "Nitong nakaraang tatlong buwan, nangyari po ba kahit minsan na ang inyong pamilya ay nakaranas ng gutom at wala kayong makain? (OO, HINDI)" [In the last 3 months, did it happen even once that your family experienced hunger and not have anything to eat? (YES, NO)].

Those who experienced hunger were further asked: "Nangyari po ba ‘yan ng MINSAN LAMANG, MGA ILANG BESES, MADALAS, o PALAGI?" (Did it happen ONLY ONCE, A FEW TIMES, OFTEN, or ALWAYS?). – Rappler.com