Survey: Hunger hits record high in the Philippines
First posted 08:37pm (Mla time) Jan 06, 2006
THE number of Filipinos who said they went hungry rose
to a record high with nearly 17 percent of people
surveyed saying they had nothing to eat at least once
over a three-month period, a survey group said Friday.
Of the Filipino households queried, 16.7 percent
reported experiencing hunger in the last quarter of
2005, the independent Social Weather Stations survey
group said -- a record high since it began hunger
surveys in mid-1998.
The survey also found those describing themselves as
living in poverty rose to 57 percent from 49 percent
in the previous quarter.
The SWS said the proportional figure, or an estimated
2.8 million families, surpassed the previous peak of
16.1 percent in March 2001. The proportion of people
going hungry has been in the double-digits ever since
the second quarter of 2004.
"These directly measured high levels of economic
deprivation demonstrate yet again that orthodox
economic statistics such as Gross National Product
give a very misleading
picture of the state of economic well-being," the
The survey was released just days after President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared war "against poverty,
hunger and unemployment," and ordered the release of
35 billion pesos to "pump prime" the economy.
The SWS said the highest proportion of hunger reported
-- 21.7 percent in December from 12 percent in August
2005 -- was in the southern Mindanao region, which has
been wracked by more than three decades of Muslim
rebellion, extremist terror and communist insurgency.
Hunger also rose in metropolitan Manila to 21 percent
from 16.7 percent and in the central Visayas region
from 13.3 percent to 14.3 percent during the same
The survey was based on interviews between November 27
to December 4 of 1,200 household heads randomly
selected nationwide, including 300 from metropolitan
Manila. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3
Hunger was defined as having nothing to eat at least
once in the past three months, excluding fasting for
religious or other purposes.
The number of household heads who considered
themselves poor jumped back to 57 percent after
falling to 49 percent in August 2005 from 57 percent
in May 2005.
Those who considered themselves poor said they needed
about 10,000 pesos to escape poverty in metropolitan
Manila and 5,000 pesos outside the capital region.
(1 dollar = 52.52 pesos)