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Philippine hunger rate hits record low

By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 20, 2016 - 12:00am

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MANILA, Philippines The countrys self-rated hunger rate fell to 10.6 percent in the third quarter of
2016, the lowest recorded in over 12 years, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.

The September poll showed 10.6 percent or an estimated 2.4 million families who claimed to have
experienced involuntary hunger at least once, down by 4.6 points from Junes 15.2 percent or about 3.4
million families.

It is also the lowest recorded since the 7.4 percent recorded in March 2004.

The survey was conducted from Sept. 24 to 27, using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide.

The overall hunger rate is composed of 9.1 percent (an estimated 2.1 million families) who experienced
moderate hunger and 1.5 percent (an estimated 329,000 families) who experienced severe hunger.

Moderate hunger refers to those who experience hunger only once or a few times in the last three
months.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1


Severe hunger, on the other hand, refers to those who experience having nothing to eat often or
always in the last three months.

SWS said both moderate and severe hunger eased between June and September.

Hunger rate in Metro Manila dropped to 7.3 percent (an estimated 225,000 families) from 17 percent
(estimated 521,000 families). It is the lowest rate in the area in over 12 years, since June 2004s 7.3
percent, the SWS noted.

In balance Luzon, hunger rate fell to 11.7 percent (estimated 1.2 million families) from 15.3 percent
(estimated 1.5 million families), the lowest since December 2015 when it logged 9.7 percent.
What causes food
insecurity in the PH's
poorest provinces?
Families in the Philippines' poorest provinces cite inadequate income and lack
of a job as reasons why they experience hunger

Jodesz Gavilan

@jodeszgavilan

Published 7:32 PM, November 03, 2015

Updated 12:30 PM, November 04, 2015

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GOING HUNGRY. Families in the poorest provinces cite low income as one of the main reasons
behind food insecurity.

MANILA, Philippines Hunger is often referred to as very complex with no


single cause. But for most families in the poorest provinces in the Philippines,
the problem can be traced back to livelihood.

According to a 2015 survey sponsored by the World Food Programme (WFP),


the top reasons cited for food insecurity in the countrys poorest areas include
inadequate income and lack of a regular job, among others.

The face-to-face interviews were conducted by Laylo Research Strategies


among 1,600 households in 16 poorest provinces in the country with error
margin of 2.5% for the national and 10% for each province.

These provinces, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, include


Apayao, Masbate, Negros Oriental, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Western
Samar, Zamboange del Norte, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, North
Cotabato, Saranggani, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and
Sulu.

The results showed that 37% of all households surveyed from August 16 to
September 5 went hungry in the past 12 months because they did not have
enough income to buy food. Meanwhile, 18% went hungry because they did
not have a regular job to start with.

Sulu (58%), North Cotabato (50%), and Bukidnon (47%) registered the
highest prevalence of households that went hungry due to lack of income.

The other reasons cited for food insecurity included the effects of natural
calamities and disasters, possibly related to climate change, given that 90% of
households said that rice and corn are part of their family diet.
REASONS CITED BEHIND FOOD PERCENTAGE
INSECURITY

Our family has inadequate income 37%

Our household head has no regular job 18%

There was drought in our area 12%

Our household head has no job 11%

There were strong rains in our area 10%

Others 2%

About 7% of respondents said that in each month, they had experienced not
eating anything in one day. Meanwhile, 5% said they had gone to bed for a
number of days on an empty stomach.

Sultan Kudarat led both instances as 22% of respondents experienced hunger


a day almost every month, while 16% went hungry for several days each
month in the past year.

Meanwhile, 54% of family respondents in Sarangani said they went hungry


once a day in some months, while 54% of families in Zamboanga experienced
having nothing to eat for several days in some months.
Food budget

Experiencing food insecurity can lead to malnutrition. This is the reality in the
Philippines where, according to the 2015 Regional Overview of Food
Insecurity in Asia and the Pacific, approximately 17.5 million Filipinos are still
undernourished. (READ: State of PH nutrition: The last 5 years)

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defines food
insecurity as a situation when people lack secure access to sufficient
amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and
an active and healthy life.

The prevailing yet very solvable problem can be addressed by providing


means for families to access adequate amounts of food.

Many studies say there is actually no shortage of food in the country, but
that food prices are just too high for most Filipinos. (READ: How can the
government lower food prices in the Philippines? )

To eat the right amount and type of food based on criteria set by the Food and
Nutrition Research Institutes Pinggang Pinoy, a family of 5 needs to spend an
estimated P439 ($9)* a day or P13,170 ($281) a month. (READ: Is the
minimum wage enough for a days worth of nutritious meals?)

However, the WFP survey found that a family with an average of 5 members
who can go on for two days without food spends P120 ($2.5) a day, or
P3,600 ($76) a month to buy food.

With the respondents average income of P4,000 ($85), they are left with only
P400 for other basic necessities an amount that is obviously not enough.
NOUGH? Minimum wage earners are facing financial problems as prices of food commodity
increase. Graphic by Alejandro Edoria

With insufficient income for food, only 6% of respondents claimed to be having


a balanced diet each day.

The insufficient income may be attributed to the bigger job situation. According
to the survey results, 43% of the respondents said that the head of the
household works as a farmer or is engaged in farming.

The agricultural sector, despite being identified as the biggest food producer,
is considered the poorest in the Philippines.

Borrowing to eat

Just to get by without going to sleep on an empty stomach, most of the


respondents cope by borrowing.

According to the survey results, 39% of households surveyed buy from retail
stores or sari-sari stores on a loan basis, while 26% borrow money from
relatives just to buy something to eat. Some families, 18% of respondents,
address hunger by borrowing food from neighbors.

When they take out a loan, however, it is understood it has to be paid back.
This will definitely decrease the monthly income supposed to be spent on food
and other necessities.
Other coping mechanisms of households include directly asking money and
food from neighbors and relatives, diluting soup or porridge they eat, and
reducing food portions.

The WFP survey found that both parents sacrifice to let others get the most
out of meager meals. When times are hard, 48% said that the fathers meal is
reduced, while 42% said it is the mother who sacrifices.

The food insecurity problem, however, is not only limited to the provinces
surveyed as it is evident throughout the country. (READ: Barong-barong: State
of poor mans housing)

The International Food Policy Researchs 2015 Global Hunger


Index described the hunger situation in the Philippines as serious and
ranked it 51st among 117 countries measured.

With several studies exploring and explaining the problem of food and nutrition
insecurity in the country, Filipinos are hoping these issues will take center
stage, or at the very least, merit some attention during the 2016 elections.
Rappler.com

*$1 = P46