The national government will continue to step up efforts to eradicate hunger following a survey which showed that 49 percent of Filipinos said they felt poor, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Sunday.
He acknowledged results of the national Social Weather Survey (SWS) of April 28-May 2, 2021, which found that only 17 percent of Filipino families rated themselves as “not poor”, 49 percent rated themselves as “poor”, and 33 percent rated themselves as “borderline poor.”
In November 2020, the SWS survey showed that the percentage of people who said they were “poor” was 48 percent.
Of the estimated 12.4 million “poor” families in May 2021, 2.4 million were “newly poor”, 1.2 million were “usually poor”, and 8.8 million were “always poor”, the SWS survey showed.
Nograles, who is also chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger, said the figures were expected given the limitations in livelihood as a result of prevailing Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
However, he said it is also worthy to note that the formation of the Zero Hunger task force and efforts by the Department of Agriculture to improve local food production “may have had a positive impact and may have helped prevent self-rated food poverty numbers in 2020 from increasing due to the pandemic lockdowns.”
“We also believe that there is growing evidence that tells us that the government should stay the course in its programs while stepping up efforts to stamp out hunger,” he said in a press statement.
Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Nograles said the country’s estimated self-sufficiency for ratio aggregated food products had increased from 81.3 percent in 2019 to 83 percent in 2020, which means that 83 percent of the country’s food supply in 2020 came from domestic production.
He said the Zero Hunger task force is currently looking closely at recent self-rated food poverty survey data to identify the areas of concern that need to be addressed.
Last Wednesday, Nograles expressed hope the next administration will carry programs and projects started under the Duterte administration, including efforts to implement the country’s National Food Policy, which aims to eliminate hunger in the country by 2030.
“I hope that whoever is in the next administration would continue what is in our National Food Policy road map and if they can enhance it, the better. I hope that they will also stay committed to ending hunger and malnutrition in the country,” he said in Filipino.
In January 2019, Duterte signed an executive order (EO) creating a task force in a bid to fast-track the government’s campaign to fight hunger.