SWS survey reveals new record-high number of Filipino families experiencing hunger

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 27)— Over 7 million families have experienced hunger at least once in the past three months, accounting for a new record-high 30.7 percent, according to an independent pollster.

A Social Weather Stations survey conducted over September 17 to 20 and released Sunday revealed that an estimated 7.6 million families reported involuntary hunger, or hunger due to lack of food in households, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This surpassed the previous record of 23.8 percent in March 2012, SWS noted.

The hunger incidence in September saw a 9.8 point-increase from the 20.9 percent level (or estimated 5.2 million families) tallied in July.

The spike, according to SWS, was due to an increase in the scores in all survey areas, with new record hunger rates reported in Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao.

In the capital region, 28.2 percent, or an estimated 941,000 families, reported hunger in the past three months, up from 16.3 percent in July.

Overall hunger also rose to new record figures in Visayas and Mindanao, which listed 40.7 percent and 37.5 percent hunger incidence, respectively.

​Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Malacañang is saddened by the survey results, but noted that interventions are in place to ease hunger.

"Kaya nga tayo nagbubukas ng ekonomiya para mapababa 'yung numero ng mga nagugutom [We are saddened by this news. We are reopening the economy so we can reduce the number of people getting hungry]," he said, pointing out that keeping Metro Manila – the country's main business hub – under general community quarantine also meant half of the economy remains restricted.

"Ang pakiusap natin, puwede naman pong magtrabaho habang nandiyan ang COVID-19," he added. "Pilit nating pinalalabas ang mas maraming transportasyon... Nagbibigay po tayo ngayon ng ayuda sa mga lugar na subject to localized or granular lockdown, patuloy po ang pagbigay natin ng tulong sa mga nawalan ng trabaho."

[Translation: Our appeal is that we can work and live with COVID-19. We are trying to allow more public transportation... We are providing aid to areas subject to localized or granular lockdown, we are also continuing with assistance to people who lost their jobs.]

The nationwide poll was conducted through mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviewing. It included a sample of 1,249 adults.

The survey had a ±3 percent error margin, ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao, and ±5 percent for Balance Luzon.