Philippines mulls reopening economy as hunger rate hits record-high

File photos shows children near Del Pan Bridge in Manila sharing two plates of rice. The latest SWS survey showed a record-high incidence of hunger in the country since 2014. (RICHARD REYES/INQUIRER)

MANILA, Philippines, Sept 28 (Philippines Inquirer/ANN) — Malacañang on Monday underscored the importance of reopening the economy and let Filipinos return to work after the Social Weather Stations (SWS) recorded the highest hunger incidence in the country since 2014.

The latest SWS survey showed that some 7.6 million families experienced hunger in the past three months.

“Nakakalungkot yang balitang yan bagamat halos sigurado ako na yan po’y dahil nga sa pandemya na nagsasara tayo ng ekonomiya, ” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in Teleradyo interview.

(That’ sad news, though I’m almost sure that’s because the pandemic forced us to shut down the economy.)

“Ang garantiya talaga na mapapababa natin ang bilang ng nagugutom, buksan ang ekonomiya nang mas marami ang makapaghanapbuhay dahil ang ayuda, alam naman po natin, temporary lang yan, ” he added.

(The only guarantee for us to decrease the hunger incidence is to open up the economy so that many Filipinos can return to work since cash aid, as we know, is only temporary.)

Roque also noted that the government will continue to extend assistance to the public through various programs under the recently passed Bayanihan to Recover As One Act.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines has surpassed 300,000 with over 5,300 deaths and more than 250,000 recoveries.

The recorded high incidence of hunger comes as the country nears its seventh month of being under community quarantine.

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