Armed conflicts major cause of hunger in RP – NEDA

October 27, 2009 10:44 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 28 –- The national government on Wednesday blamed the armed conflicts between the military and insurgents around the country which is causing hunger among poor Filipinos.

This was contained in a report by National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) director general and acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Augusto Santos in his report to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Santos also traced the expected rise in prices to the growing population, rising output cost and slowly dwindling hectarage planted to rice because of the conversion of rice fields to other crops, urbanization and industrialization.

The fact that inflation had actually fallen steadily from a high of 7.3 percent in February to a 20-year low of 0.1 percent in August, moderating to 0.7 percent in September, is of small consolation to families who must now suffer additional stress with having to deal with higher prices, particularly on food and stagnant income, he said.

Santos also said the coming weeks will see an “uptick” in inflation due to several factors, among which are the massive P23.5-billion damage to agriculture of the recent storms, rising fuel prices and the approaching Christmas season.

Santos also said while local food prices are stable at the moment, certain “threats” remain.

“Food prices in our country surged in 2008 but it has receded this year, 2009. The latest is 2 percent in September. NSO [National Statistics Office]-Neda still has to come out with its inflation report for October. We expect an uptick in food inflation because of the typhoons,” he said.

Santos was also referring to the third Quarter 2009 Social Weather Survey (SWS), fielded over September 18-21, 2009.

SWS found the proportion of families experiencing involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months declining to 17.5%, or an estimated 3.2 million families, from 20.3% (estimated 3.7 million families) in the previous quarter.

Hunger has consistently been in double-digits for over five years, since June 2004. The latest Hunger figure is 5 points above the 11-year average of 12.9%.

The 2.8-point decline in Overall Hunger between June 2009 and September 2009 resulted from a 1.5-point decline in Moderate Hunger, combined with a 1.3-point decline in Severe Hunger.

Overall Hunger declined sharply by over 10 points in Mindanao, from 30.0% (estimated 1.3 million families) in June to 19.7% (estimated 800,000 families) in September.

It declined by 2 points in the Visayas, from 21.0% (estimated 775,000 families) to 19.0% (estimated 700,000 families), and by almost 1 point in Balance Luzon, from 14.3% (estimated 1.2 million families) to 13.5% (estimated 1.1 million families).

However, it rose by over 2 points in Metro Manila, from 22.3% (estimated 550,000 families) to 24.7% (estimated 600,000 families).

Moderate Hunger declined by almost 9 points in Mindanao, from a 25.3% in the previous quarter to 16.7% now, and by almost 3 points in the Visayas, from 18.7% to 16.1%.

It rose by almost 4 points in Metro Manila, from 15.3% to 19.0%, and by 1 point in Balance Luzon, from 10.2% to 11.3%. (PNA)/V3/JCA/

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