Involuntary hunger affected an estimated 3.7 million Filipino families in the past three months, up from an estimated 2.9 million families in the previous quarter, a survey by Social Weather Stations said Monday.
The new hunger figure is just 3 points lower than the record-high 23.7 percent (or estimated 4.3 million families) in December 2008, and is 8 points above the ten-year average of 12.8 percent.
SWS said hunger has consistently been in double-digits for five years, since June 2004. The SWS measure of hunger refers to involuntary suffering because the respondents answer a survey question that specifies hunger due to lack of anything to eat.
SWS said moderate hunger, referring to those who went hungry at least once or a few times, affected an estimated two million families in February. The number rose to 2.9 million families in June.
Severe Hunger, referring to those who experienced it "Often" or "Always" in the last three months, fell from 4.4 percent (an estimated 810,000 families) in February to 4.3 percent (estimated 790,000) in June.
Hunger rose sharply in Mindanao
Overall Hunger is again highest in Mindanao as it rose sharply by 18 points from 11.7 percent (estimated 490,000 families) in February to 30.0 percent (estimated 1.3 million families) in June.
It rose by 5 points in Metro Manila, from 17.3 percent (estimated 430,000 families) to 22.3 percent (estimated 550,000 families), and by 1 point in the Visayas, from 19.7 percent (estimated 730,000 families)
to 21.0 percent (estimated 775,000 families).
It barely dropped in Balance Luzon, from 15.0 percent to 14.3 percent (estimated 1.2 million families).
Severe Hunger rose by 3 points in Mindanao, from two percent in February to 4.7 percent in June, and by 1 point in Metro Manila, from 5.7 percent to 7.0 percent.
It declined by 4 points in the Visayas, from 6.3 percent in the previous quarter to 2.3 percent now. It barely declined in Balance Luzon, from 4.3 percent to 4.2 percent.
The latest Severe Hunger rate in the Visayas of 2.3 percent is a point lower than its ten-year average of 3.1 percent, while it is almost equal in Mindanao, at 4.7 percent, compared to its ten-year average of 4.5 percent. The Severe Hunger rates for Metro Manila and Balance Luzon remain higher than their ten-year averages.