SWS: Some 4.2-M PHL families felt “involuntary hunger” or failed to eat for lack of food at least once in past 3 months

Says almost all families interviewed by phone have received food aid

This photo taken on March 18, 2020 shows a general view of a slum area along the river in Manila. – Asian nations have imposed increasingly heavy measures to fight the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Philippines has ordered half its population of some 110 million to stay home. (Photo by Maria TAN / AFP)


(Eagle News) — Around 4.2 million Filipino families “experienced involuntary hunger” or “hunger due to lack of food to eat” at least once in the past three months, according to a recent special Social Weather Stations COVID-19 mobile phone survey.

“This is nearly double the 8.8% (est. 2.1 million families) in December 2019, and the highest since the 22.0% (est. 4.8 million families) in September 2014,” SWS said in a release.

The survey also found that almost all families, or 99 percent of those they interviewed, “received food-help since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, most commonly from government.”

The special SWS COVID-19 mobile phone survey was conducted from May 4 to 10 this year. It said 16.7 percent or an estimated 4.2 million Filipino families had suffered from hunger at least once in the past three months, or from March to May, 2020.

“On March 16, 2020, the Philippine government imposed an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon, restricting movement of people, in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic (Covid-19) in the country. Travel by land, sea or air from Luzon was suspended except for diplomats, uniformed workers (especially those in the medical field), and those who do humanitarian work,” SWS said.

It said that because of the ECQ, the SWS had to cancel its usual face-to-face home interviews scheduled in late March.

“This was the first time for SWS to ever miss a quarterly survey since the first quarter of 1992,” SWS said in a statement.

The SWS said that the nationwide Hunger rate of 16.7% consisted of Hunger in Metro Manila at 20.8% (estimated at 693,000 families), Balance Luzon at 12.6% (about 1.4 million families), the Visayas at 14.6% (about. 685,000 families), and Mindanao at 24.2% (about 1.4 million families)

“Hunger rose in Metro Manila, from 9.3% (around 307,000 families) in December 2019 to 20.8% in May 2020. This is the highest since the 22.0% in September 2014,” it noted.

(Eagle News Service)