MANILA - Some 3.1 million Filipino families experienced hunger in the first quarter of 2016, higher than the 2.6 million number recorded in the last quarter of 2015, the latest Social Weather Stations survey revealed Monday.
The survey, conducted last March 30 to April 2, showed the total hunger rate rising from 11.7 percent in December to 13.7 percent in the latest survey.
The results of the survey were first published on Businessworld.
The survey revealed at least 11.6 percent or 2.6 million families experienced moderate hunger (going hungry only once or a few times) in the last three months. On the other hand, 2.1 percent or a total of 481,000 families said they suffered "severe" hunger or experienced hunger "often" or "always" in the last three months.
SWS said the hunger rate in Mindanao increased by six percentage points, from 13 percent (658,000 families) in December to 19 percent (an estimated 978,000 families) in the latest survey. Hunger also rose by 2.6 percentage points in Luzon areas from 9.7% (952,000 families) and 12.3% (1.2 million families).
On the other hand, hunger in Metro Manila decreased from 17 percent (513,000 families) to 14 percent (429,000 families).
In an interview, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the problem of hunger is being addressed by the proper departments including the Department of Agriculture and Department of Social Welfare and Development.
"Secretary [Manny] Pinol has a feeding program, which begins at the very least a symbolic addressing of the fact that people are hungry. Many people are hungry," he said.
He said Palace officials will need to discuss whether or not to continue the conditional cash transfer.
Aid group Oxfam earlier said 4.7 million people in the Pacific faced hunger, poverty and disease because of the El Niño phenomenon. It said 85 percent of the Philippines is expected to be in drought by March 2016.
Oxfam: Expect 2016 drought in Philippines amid 'super' El Niño