3 million Filipino families experienced hunger in last quarter of 2022 - SWS survey

Michael Joe Delizo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2023 09:11 PM

Informal settlers living near the Marikina River wait for the weather clear on September 29, 2022 before dealing with mud and debris brought by Typhoon Karding in San Mateo, Rizal. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
Informal settlers living near the Marikina River wait for the weather clear on September 29, 2022 before dealing with mud and debris brought by Typhoon Karding in San Mateo, Rizal. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The family of Luzviminda Martinez, 57, has no home and only wanders in the streets of Quezon City. 

They try to survive day-to-day by selling scraps and garbage.

Sometimes, they have no earnings at all and they end up without anything to eat. This makes it more difficult for her two young grandchildren.

“Aburido ka, masakit sa kalooban. Anong magagawa natin? Wala,” Martinez said. “Kung may makakain ka, kahit na umuulan, basta may jeep diyan na nakaparada, diyan kami nakikisilong.”

Meanwhile, despite working as a vendor at a small sari-sari store, Carlito Tawide also feels hungry sometimes. This is not by choice.

“May kahirapan. Pero tinitiis ko na lang dahil wala akong magawa,” he said, adding he has never received any assistance from the government.

A recent survey by pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed that an estimated 3 million or 11.8 percent of Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger -- which means being hungry and not having anything to eat -- at least once in the last quarter of 2022.

The recent number is slightly above the estimated 2.89 million families in October 2022 and 2.95 million families in June 2022.

The survey by the private pollster also showed that the number of families facing hunger is highest in Mindanao at 12.7 percent, followed by Visayas at 12 percent, Metro Manila at 11.7 percent, and Balance Luzon — or areas in Luzon outside Metro Manila — at 11.3 percent.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said the Philippine government has several programs and services to help the vulnerable sector—the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Sustainable Livelihood Program, Assistance To Individuals in Crisis Situation, among others.

DSWD Assistant Secretary Irene Dumlao claimed over 4 million households benefitted from the P99.28 billion cash grants under the 4Ps last year.

“The DSWD strives hard to perform our mandate and we continue to collaborate and work with other government agencies and the local government offices para ma-address nga or ma-achieve natin ‘yung overall objective, which is to free all Filipinos from hunger and poverty,” she said.

The survey was conducted from December 10 to 14 or at the time when the country’s inflation rose further to 8.1 percent -- the highest since November 2008.