Some 7.6 million Filipino households experienced hunger in the past three months – a new record-high of 30.7 percent from the previous record-high of 23.8 percent in March 2012 – an independent survey released Sunday by pollster Social Weather Stations showed.
The survey, conducted from Sept. 17 to 20, showed 7.6 million families reported involuntary hunger, or hunger due to lack of food, amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has shuttered businesses and left many jobless.
The country's hunger incidence had steadily declined from the March 2012 record-high of 23.8 percent to 8.8 percent in December 2019.
The hunger trend, however, has been rising since May this year.
Hunger incidence in September was up by 9.8 points from 20.9 percent in July, and by 14 points from 16.7 percent in May.
SWS said there was an increase in the scores in all survey areas, with new record hunger rates logged in Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao.
In Metro Manila, 28.2 percent, or an estimated 941,000 families, reported hunger in the past three months, up from 16.3 percent in July.
September's 30.7 percent hunger rate covers 22 percent or around 5.5 million families who experienced moderate hunger and 8.7 percent or around 2.2 million families who experienced severe hunger.
SWS defines “moderate hunger” as those who experienced hunger "only once" or "a few times" in the last three months.
Severe hunger, on the other hand, refers to those who experienced it "often" or "always" during the survey period.
The nationwide poll was conducted through mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviewing covering 1,249 adults.
The survey had a ±3 percent error margin, ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao, and ±5 percent for Balance Luzon.