Many of them shown in the news for May 1, Labor Day may have been among those interviewed and included in the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted from March 21-25, 2024.

Many of you may also have seen the news and are now familiar with the genuine, more widespread faces of our hungry and the poor.

May the faces of our growing number of hungry and poor bother the consciences especially of those who promised them better lives during, but forgot them, after elections.

Or better still, may the millions of hungry and poor be wiser and empowered from hereon. May they make their poverty and hunger a serious election issue. May the legion of poor and hungry remember not to sell their votes ever again to the underserving, deceitful politicians.

The first quarter 2024 SWS confirmed the rise among the hungry and poor affected not only by El Ni?o but more especially by ineffective/unresponsive local and national governance and officials.

Here are some highlights about this First Quarter 2024 SWS survey. On hunger, the SWS survey asked respondents these questions: In the last three months, did it happen even once that your family experienced hunger and not have anything to eat? (Yes, No). If experienced hunger, did it happen Only Once, A Few Times, Often, or Always?

Overall, those who reported involuntary hunger (being hungry and not having anything to eat at least once in the past three months) rose to 14.2% in March 2024, up 1.6%from 12.6% in December, 2023.

SWS noted that the March 2024 hunger figure was 3.5 points above the 10.7% annual hunger rate of 2023. The March 2024 result was also the highest since 16.8% in May 2021.

SWS also explained that the 1.6-point rise in hunger between December 2023 and March 2024 was due to increases in Metro Manila, Visayas, Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside Metro Manila) and combined with a decline in Mindanao.

Hunger rate was highest in Metro Manila, at 19.0% of families, followed by Balance Luzon at 15.3%, the Visayas at 15.0%, and Mindanao at 8.7%.

From December 2023, the incidence of hunger rose significantly by 6.3 points in Metro Manila, from 12.7% to 19.0%. In the Visayas, the hunger rate rose by 5.7 points from 9.3% to 15.0%. In the rest of Luzon outside Metro Manila, hunger rate rose by 1.0 point from 14.3% to 15.3%.

Mindanao's hunger rate, however, fell by 3.3 points, from 12.0% to 8.7%.

Nationwide, among the hungry, 12.2% experienced 'Moderate Hunger' --those who experienced hunger 'Only Once' or 'A Few Times' in the last three months. Compared to December 2023, Moderate Hunger rose by 1.0 point from 11.2%.

Those who reported 'Severe Hunger' (those who experienced hunger 'Often' or 'Always' in the previous three months) rose to 2.0%, 0.6 points from 1.4% in December, 2023.

In the March 2024 SWS survey, 46% of Filipino families rated themselves as Mahirap or Poor, 30% as Borderline (those who placed themselves on a horizontal line dividing Poor and Not Poor), and 23%, as Hindi Mahirap or Not Poor.

SWS noted that at any single point in time, hunger is usually higher among the poor. However, the latest SWS survey observed the rise in hunger even among the non-poor with the rate of Total Hunger (i.e., Moderate plus Severe) from 5.9% in December 2023 to 9.8% in March 2024.

With global warming, now termed as global boiling, further aggravating the continuing, simultaneous convergence of various crises --poverty, hunger, drought, floods, and more-- can the poor and hungry see any hope, any relief or genuine alleviation of their plight?

Or shall the number of the hungry and poor continue to increase through the months and years? May their much-awaited genuine relief/alleviation and change come soonest.

Copyright © 2022 PhilSTAR Daily, Inc Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (