MANILA -- Compared to the last quarter of last year, fewer Filipinos experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the first three months of 2018, the latest survey from the Social Weather Stations showed.
The survey released early Monday showed that 9.9 percent or around 2.3 million families experienced involuntary hunger at least once from January to March.
This is 6 percentage points below the 15.9 percent, or 3.6 million families, quarterly hunger rate in December 2017. It is also only the second time the hunger rate has been in the single-digit range since March 2004.
SWS said the 9.9 percent was arrived at by adding the 8.6 percent of those surveyed who said they experienced "moderate hunger" and the 1.3 percent who said they experienced "severe hunger."
The SWS explained that "moderate hunger" refers to those who experienced hunger "only once" or "a few times" in the last three months, while "severe hunger" refers to those who experienced it "often" or "always" in the last three months.
The quarterly hunger rate in Metro Manila fell to 6 percent (from 14.7 percent in December 2017), while hunger in Balance Luzon fell to 11 percent (from 17.7 percent in December 2017).
Meanwhile, hunger only slightly decreased in Visayas, from 13.3 percent in December 2017 to 13 percent in March 2018.
In Mindanao, hunger fell to 7.33 percent from 15.3 percent in December 2017.
The survey noted that the drop in the quarterly hunger rate between December 2017 and March 2018 was due to the decrease in the incidence of hunger among the Self-Rated Poor and the Self-Rated Non-Poor.
The survey was conducted from March 23-27, 2018 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide, with a sampling error margins of ±3 percent for national percentages and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.