In its poll conducted from March 19 to 22 and posted on its media partner BusinessWorld, SWS said that the 3.9 million families or 19.2 percent of Filipino families that experienced hunger was higher than 16.3 percent in December.
This was despite a decline in self-rated poverty to 52 percent during March, or some 10.6 million families, from 54 percent in December, the SWS noted.
It added hunger increased among both the poor and the non-poor, even as it pointed out March’s figures were still below the record 23.8 percent recorded last year.
Moderate, severe hunger
The survey showed a rise of nearly three points in moderate hunger, or having nothing to eat once or a few times in the last three months, to 15.6 percent (3.2 million families) from 12.7 percent.
It added severe hunger, where families claimed to experience hunger often or always, remained at 3.6 percent or 726,000 families.
SWS noted overall hunger increased in all regions but fell in Metro Manila by nearly four points to 21.7 percent (615,000 families) from 25.3 percent.
However, hunger went up sharply in Mindanao to 29.2 percent (1.4 million families) from 20 percent. It also rose to 14.7 percent (1.3 million families) in the balance of Luzon (Balance Luzon) and went up 15 percent (580,000 families) from 13.3 percent in the Visayas.
Moderate hunger increased to 22.7 percent in Mindanao from 16 percent, 13.7 percent from 10.7 percent in the Visayas, and 12 percent from 9.7 percent in Balance Luzon.
But it fell to 17.3 percent in Metro Manila in March from 19.3 percent in December.
SWS noted the latest moderate hunger rates are higher than their 14-year averages in all areas.
Severe hunger was highest in Mindanao, rising by nearly three points to 6.7 percent.
But it fell by less than a point in Balance Luzon to 2.7 percent and by over a point in the Visayas and Metro Manila at 1.3 percent and 4.3 percent.
The SWS noted severe hunger rates are lower than the 14-year averages in Balance Luzon and the Visayas, but are higher in Mindanao and Metro Manila.
Relation to poverty
The SWS also said overall hunger rose to 25.5 percent from 22.7 percent among the self-rated poor and to 12.2 percent from 9 percent among non-poor.
Hunger went up sharply among the self-rated food poor, to 33.1 percent from 25.8 percent.
Among those who said they are not food poor, hunger rose to 10.4 percent from 8.8 percent.
Meanwhile, self-rated food poverty improved to 39 percent (7.9 million families) in March from 44 percent in December.
The SWS survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide. The survey has error margins of ±3% for national and ±6% for area percentages. — DVM, GMA News