Number of poor Filipinos going hungry drops

Quarterly survey result comes as the World Bank predicts a drop in the Philippines' poverty rate
Number of poor Filipinos going hungry drops

Many families living in urban poor communities in the Philippines have reported experiencing hunger most of the time. (Photo by Jire Carreon)

The number of Filipinos experiencing hunger has dropped, according to a survey by independent pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The drop comes as the World Bank also predicts a drop in the poverty rate in the country.  

Results of the SWS survey for the third quarter of the year revealed that an estimated 2.3 million Filipino families, or 9.1 percent, experienced hunger as a result of poverty.

According to SWS, moderate hunger is when families may experience hunger a few times over the course of three months. Severe hunger is when families feel hungry often or all the time during the same period.

The latest survey was an improvement from the 10 percent, or an estimate of 2.5 million families, in June, following an increase from 9.5 percent or about 2.3 million families in March.

Caritas Manila welcomed the drop and expressed hope that the decline would be sustained. "That's great news," said Father Anton Pascual, executive director of the social action arm of the Manila Archdiocese.

What is more important is for the "factors leading to the decrease to be sustained" to ensure the eradication of hunger in this country, he said.

The survey was conducted from Sept. 27-30 among 1,800 heads of households from across the country.

The latest figure of 9.1 percent is the sum of 7.4 percent or an estimate of 1.8 million families who experienced moderate hunger and 1.7 percent or about 426,000 families who experienced severe hunger.

Compared to the June figures, moderate hunger went down from 8.7 percent or about 2.1 million families while severe hunger went up from 1.3 percent or about 320,000 families.

A World Bank report released last month noted that amid easing inflation and rising incomes, the poverty rate in the Philippines will likely fall below 20 percent next year.

The report projected poverty incidence in the Philippines at 20.8 percent by the end of 2019, down from 26 percent in 2015, the latest comparable full-year date from the Philippine government.

The fall comes "as real wages continue to rise and employment continues to expand towards non-agriculture wage employment," the report said.

The latest poverty incidence figure is equivalent to 23.1 million poor Filipinos, down from the 28.8 million below the poverty line three years ago.

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