At least 5.2 million or 20.9% of Filipino families have experienced involuntary hunger at least once over the past three months amid the community quarantines imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19, the results of a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.
Involuntary hunger is defined as hunger due to lack of food to eat.
The SWS mobile poll, conducted nationwide from July 3 to 6, also revealed that 20.9% figure is a 4.2 point-increase from 16.7% percent of Filipino families who experienced involuntary hunger in May 2020.
The number is also a 12.1 point-increase from 8.8% in December 2019.
Of the 20.9% who experienced involuntary hunger, 15.8% or 3.9 families suffered from moderate hunger while 5.1% or 1.3 million families experienced severe hunger.
The SWS defined moderate hunger as those who experienced hunger only once or a few times in the last three months.
Severe hunger, on the other hand, referred to those who experienced hunger often or always in the last three months.
Likewise, moderate hunger jumped to 15.9% in July from 13.9% in May.
The 15.9% who experienced moderate hunger this month is the highest percentage recorded since moderate hunger logged in 17.6% in September 2014.
The percentage of those who experienced severe hunger also increased to 5.1% this month from 2.8% in May.
The 5.1% who experienced severe hunger is also the highest percentage recorded in that category since the percentage of those who suffered from severe hunger reached 5.4% or 1.2 million families in June 2013.
Since June 1, Metro Manila and other urbanized cities have been placed under eased quarantine measures to allow 75% of the workforce of each company to physically go back to work and 10 to 50% of the mass transport to operate again amid the COVID-19 pandemic
The eased quarantine protocol measure, however, is yet to offset the losses brought about by the enhanced community quarantine implemented from March to May, a protocol which bans non-essential work and mass transport to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
The SWS poll was conducted using mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviewing of 1,555 adult Filipinos aged 18 years old and above nationwide. Of the 1,555 respondents, 306 were from the National Capital Region, 451 from Balance Luzon, 388 in the Visayas, and 410 in Mindanao.
The sampling error margin is ±2% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, ±5% for Balance Luzon, ±5% for the Visayas, and ±5% for Mindanao. -NB, GMA News