THE number of hungry Filipino families is expected to shoot up in December more than the 7.6 million families who experienced hunger in the third quarter of the year, Cabinet Secretary and Task Force Zero Hunger chairman Karlo Nograles said over the weekend.
Nograles said the higher hunger rate is among the long-term impacts of the still rampant coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the series of typhoons that hit the country in October.
Nograles, in an interview with radio DzRH, said: “Ang feeling ko po gawa nitong sunod-sunod na mga pandemya, sunod-sunod na typhoons natin, ay maaring pong lumalala pa ang sitwasyon dahil may COVID na nga, tapos meron pang Rolly, Ulysses, iyung sunod-sunod na typhoons natin (I feel that with the pandemic and the series of typhoons, the situation may worsen).”
The Social Weather Station (SWS) survey conducted for the third quarter of 2020 indicated that 30.7 percent or an estimated 7.6 million Filipinos went hungry during the three months leading to September.
The fourth quarter survey is expected to be released in December.
Nograles said the government usually relies on the Global Hunger Index and the Food Insecurity Scale but the latest data only covers 2019 as no face to face interviews or surveys have been done this year due to the COVID-19 health emergency. Survey firms like the SWS and the Pulse Asia, through their mobile surveys, have been able to conduct surveys this year.
The Philippines ranked 69th of 117 countries that experienced hunger in the 2019 Global Hunger Index. The country is lumped under the Moderate Hunger level.
On the other hand, in the 2019 Food Insecurity Scale, the Philippines recorded that 39 percent of Filipino families experienced moderate food insecurity and 5 percent severe food insecurity.
Nograles said regardless whether there is a pandemic or calamity, the government is committed to address hunger, which he reiterated is an urgent problem that the government has been trying hard to address.
He said the government had been formulating anti-hunger policies as well as working with different private groups and foundations “to form a lasting and effective public-private partnership that aims to achieve food security for Filipino families.”
“Our approach is comprehensive. We aim to address food production, food distribution and accessibility, and combat malnutrition both in urban areas and in the countryside,” he added.