MORE THAN 7.6 million Filipino households went hungry at least once in the past three months amid a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a September poll by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).
Hunger reached a record 30.7% or about 7.6 million families, exceeding the 23.8% in March 2012. It also rose by 9.8 points from 20.9% in July.
“The hunger trend has been rising since May 2020, upsetting a previous favorable trend when hunger steadily declined from 23.8% in March 2012 to 9.3% in December 2019,” SWS said in a statement on Sunday.
About 22% or 5.5 million families said they experienced moderate hunger or at least once while 8.7% or about 2.2 million families experienced severe hunger, meaning they went hungry often in the past three months.
The hunger rate also reached record-highs in Metro Manila, the Visayas and Mindanao, the polling firm said.
The rate in Metro Manila rose to 28.2% or about 941,000 families from 16.3%, to 40.7% or 1.9 million families in the Visayas from 27.2%, and to 37.5% or 2.1 million families in Mindanao from 24.2%.
Those who experienced hunger in the rest of Luzon also rose to 23.8% or 2.6 million from 17.8%, SWS said.
The hunger rate was also higher among households of people who did not finish elementary school.
SWS spoke by mobile phone with 1,249 adult Filipinos from Sept. 17 to 20 for the poll, which had an error margin of ±3%.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte kept Metro Manila under a general community quarantine until the end of the month, along with the provinces of Bulacan and Batangas and the cities of Tacloban and Bacolod amid the pandemic. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas