A LABOR group on Tuesday downplayed the results of a survey by the group Social Weather Stations saying the number of people experiencing hunger had declined, saying that was due to the proliferation of “pagpag” food that is accessible to poor Filipinos especially in Metro Manila.
“Pagpag” is a Filipino term for leftover food from fast-food restaurants that is scavenged from garbage sites and dumps.
“We would like to attribute this development to the proliferation of “pagpag” food— very cheap, very delicious and easily accessible to the poor,” said Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa spokesman Alan Tanjusay.
The TUCP-Nagkaisa said the Aquino administration failed to make quality living for the majority of Filipinos by not meeting three benchmarks, including raising the income of the poor.
“The government failed to make power, water, telecom services affordable and the third is that the government’s enormous savings could have been dedicated to new jobs,” the TUCP said.
SWS said about three milion Filipino families experienced “involuntary hunger” at least once during the first quarter of 2015.
The First Quarter 2015 Social Weather Survey, conducted from March 20 to 23, 2015, also showed that this was 3.7 points below the 17.2 percent (estimated at 3.8 million families) in December 2014, and the lowest in 10 years since May 2005, when it was at 12.0 percent, SWS said.
The survey firm said the measure of “Hunger” refers to involuntary suffering because the respondents answer a survey question that specifies hunger due to lack of food to eat.
SWS said both “Moderate Hunger” and “Severe Hunger” likewise declined.
The 13.5 percent total Hunger in March 2015 is the sum of 11.1 percent (estimated at 2.5 million families) who experienced Moderate Hunger and 2.4 percent (estimated at 522,000 families) who experienced Severe Hunger, SWS said.
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 few who did not state their frequency of hunger were classified under Moderate Hunger.
Both Moderate Hunger and Severe Hunger fell between December 2014 and March 2015.
Moderate Hunger fell by 2.1 points, from 13.2 percent (estimated at 2.9 million families) to 11.1 percent.
Severe Hunger declined by 1.7 points from 4.1 percent (est. 888,000 families) to 2.4 percent.
Hunger fell amid the decline in Self-Rated Poverty and Self-Rated Food Poverty.
There was a 3.7-point fall in Hunger, a 1-point decline in Self-Rated Poverty, and a 5-point decline in Self-Rated Food-Poverty, between December 2014 and March 2015.
Hunger fell among the Poor, the Food-Poor, the Non-Poor and the Non-Food-Poor.
Overall Hunger (i.e. Moderate plus Severe) fell among the Self-Rated Poor by 2.1 points, from 21.3 percent in December 2014 to 19.2 percent in March 2015.
It fell among the Not Poor/On the Borderline by 5.4 points, from 12.8 percent to 7.4 percent over the same period.
It fell among the Self-Rated Food-Poor by 4.9 points, from 28.8% to 23.9 percent.
It fell among the Not Food-Poor/Food-Borderline by 1.3 points, from 9.0 percent to 7.7 percent.
At any point in time, Hunger among the Self-Rated Food-Poor is always greater than Hunger among the Self-Rated Poor.