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Survey says more going hungry

President Aquino disputes results, says government project recipients not included in poll

Survey says more going hungry
Filipino poor children share food during a Church-sponsored feeding program
Julian Labores and Lourdes Abelardo, Manila

April 8, 2011

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Some 4.1 million families are going hungry while increasing numbers consider themselves poor, says a survey released by pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) today. The survey, conducted March 4 to 7, also revealed that 20.5 percent of families had gone hungry at least once in the past three months. The survey also found that 51 percent, or some 10.4 million families, consider themselves poor – two points up from 49 percent in the previous survey in November. The survey added that 40 percent consider themselves to be eating food of less nutritional value, which is higher than the 36 percent notched in November. The SWS said the overall rise in hunger resulted from increases in both moderate and severe hunger. Moderate hunger nationwide – or experiencing it only once or a few times – rose to 15.7 percent from 15 percent in November. Severe hunger – experiencing it often or always – increased to 4.7 percent from 3.1 percent. Responding to the survey results, President Benigno Aquino said the findings would have been more positive if more beneficiaries of government projects were included as respondents. He said 400,000 new beneficiaries of the government’s conditional cash transfer program were from the Visayas Islands and Mindanao which were not included in the survey. "It so happened that the statistical sample used didn't include the ones helped by the [program]. If it was reversed, the result would have been skewed to show that more people were experiencing less hunger," Aquino said. Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales of Manila earlier said it only takes 10 pesos (US$ 0.20) per day to feed a hungry child. Cardinal Rosales in his pastoral letter at the start of the Lenten season urged the faithful to give whatever they save from fasting to the Church’s feeding program called “Hapag-Asa” (Table of Hope). Hapag-Asa is an initiative to combat hunger and malnutrition among children in the country’s poor urban and rural communities It is a response to a Church call to defeat and eradicate hunger and malnutrition. PM13912.1648
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