MANILA, Philippines — Fewer Filipino families said they have experienced hunger in the past three months, according to results of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released on Monday.
In the SWS-BusinessWorld nationwide survey conducted last Sept. 24-27 among 1,200 respondents, 15.9 percent said they experienced involuntary hunger in the past three months.
The latest hunger figure is lower than the 21.1 percent of families (4 million households) in the SWS survey conducted last June.
The measure of hunger refers to involuntary suffering because the respondents answer a survey question that specifies hunger due to lack of anything to eat.
Survey questions about household hunger are directed to the household head, using the phrase “experienced hunger, and did not have anything to eat (nakaranas ng gutom at wala kayong makain).”
SWS said that overall hunger declined due to decrease in the number of Filipinos who claimed they experienced “moderate” (those who experienced it "only once" or "a few times") and severe hunger (those who experienced it “often” or “always”).
Overall hunger declined in all geographical areas: Mindanao, 16.3 percent (which SWS says translates to 700,000 families); Visayas, 15.3 percent (580,000); Balance of Luzon, 14.7 percent (1.2 million families); and Metro Manila, 20.3 million (507,000 families).
Likewise, the survey also showed that about five in 10 Filipinos claimed they are poor.
There were about nine million families or 48 percent who claimed they are poor, which is a slight improvement from the SWS survey results last June of 50 percent (9.4 million Filipino households).
The self-rated poverty threshold, or the monthly budget poor households say they need in order not to consider themselves as poor in general, remained sluggish in an indication of belt-tightening, the SWS said.
Last September, the median poverty thresholds for poor households was P10,000 in Metro Manila, p9,500 in the rest of Luzon, P6,000 in the Visayas and P5,000 in Mindanao. The median food-poverty threshold, meanwhile, was P6,000 in Metro Manila,P4,000 in the rest of Luzon and P3,000 both in Visayas and Mindanao.
SWS pointed out that all thresholds have been surpassed in the past.
In Metro Manila alone, the median poverty threshold was equivalent to only P6,146 in terms of 2000 purchasing power.
Ellalyn de Vera, Manila Bulletin