06/08/2022, 15.46
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Hunger and malnutrition on the rise in the Philippines

by Stefano Vecchia

Official data and independent studies highlight the issue. Poverty is the main cause. More and more families lack enough food for longer periods of time.

Milan (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Malnutrition is on the rise in the Philippines, this according to government data and independent studies, including the latest by Social Weather Stations (SWS), a major social research organisation founded in 1985 that has become a major player in opinion polling.

The SWS survey was carried out between 19 and 27 April and its results were released on Monday. They show that 3.1 million Philippine families (12.2 per cent of the total) experienced hunger in the first quarter of 2022 (January-March), up by 0.4 per cent compared to the previous survey of December 2021.

While 9.3 per cent of respondents indicated that they had experienced “moderate hunger” (compared to 9.2 per cent in the previous quarter), those who suffered from “severe hunger” rose from 2.6 to 2.9 per cent.

The SWS study defines moderate hunger as experiencing hunger only once or a few times, while severe hunger applies to those who lacked food often or always.

With respect to geographic distribution, hunger is up in Luzon and Mindanao, the country’s two main islands, but is down in Metro Manila and the Visayas (central Philippines).

Despite improvement, the capital still has the highest percentage of people with not enough food (18.6 per cent against 22.8), while hunger is up in other areas, including Mindanao which comes second with a 13.1 per cent against 12.2 in 2021.

Hunger is the product of widespread poverty, a major fact now that President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos is set to take office.

According to the SWS survey, poverty affects 43 per cent of Philippine families, while another 21.8 per cent are at risk.

About 17.6 per cent of the self-rated poor experienced hunger in the first quarter of the year. something that is also growing among those self-rated food poor (from 21 to 21.8 per cent).

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