By Evan Michael Clerigo, UP intern
DAVAO CITY — As hunger rate falls in Metro Manila and Visayas, thousands of Mindanaons suffer hunger as the hunger rate rose from 13 percent to 19 percent in the island.
According to the First Quarter 2016 Social Weather Survey, an estimated 3.1 million families all over the country experience involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months.
In Mindanao alone, hunger rose six points from 13 percent or 658,000 families to 19 percent or 978,000 families, and according to SWS, this is 3.2 points above the 2015 average hunger rate (15.8 percent) in Mindanao.
In Davao City, most street dwellers like 80 years-old Elena Bonghanoy only eat once a day.
“My husband’s income is barely enough to buy our food,” Elena told Davao Today in an interview on Thursday, July 7.
She said that her husband Victoriano Bonghanoy, 72 year-old, delivers goods at the market using his kariton so they could have at least one meal each day.
For a hundred pesos, she said it’s enough to cover their meal every day.
“Buntag lang man pud mi nagakaon (We only eat every morning),” she added.
Elena and her husband sleep outside the My Hotel Davao and transfers at Magallanes Street in the morning.
She said that she had stopped working since she had injured her shoulder when someone from a vulcanizing shop accidentally threw a tire at her.
“Wala man kabalo ang tag-iya. Ana ko ‘nganong giitsahan man ko nimo og ligid?’ pero ana siya wala daw siya kita (The owner did’t know. I asked him why he threw a tire at me, he said he didn’t see me),” she said.
Every morning, she stays along the Magallanes Street as she waits for her husband looking for money to buy her medicine.
Elena hopes of getting any help or assistance from the government for her swelling shoulder strain.
“Unta matabangan lang unta akong bana sa pagpatambal sa ako (I hope they will help my husband for my medication),” she said.
Department of Social Welfare and Development secretary Judy Taguiwalo said that “giving livelihood jobs and organizing the beneficiaries into cooperatives seem to be a more permanent measure in alleviating poverty than giving dole-outs.”
Taguiwalo said she would not stop the implementation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), instead, she would study and look into the impacts of the program.
Department of Agriculture secretary Emmanuel Piñol also announced that the administration will initiate “a nationwide feeding program anchored on the President Duterte’s principle ‘No one must sleep hungry’.”
Piñol clarified that the said program will not promote a dole-out principle.
Like Taguiwaldo, Piñol wants a long-term solution rather than a stop-gap measure.
Even though cases of severe hunger fell from 3.3 percent to 1.7 percent in Mindanao, Elena and her husband are among those who continue to give face that the new administration needs to address hunger and poverty immediately.(davaotoday.com)