Philippines fights severe hunger
MANILA - THE Philippine government said on Wednesday it would give money directly to poor families in an effort to fight a sharp rise in the number of Filipinos enduring severe hunger.
President Benigno Aquino's new administration said it wanted to act after a survey released on Wednesday reported that about 780,000 families in the Philippines, 4.2 per cent of the total, felt hunger 'often or always'.
The results of the Social Weather Stations survey, covering April to June, amounted to a big increase from the 2.8 per cent, or 530,000 families, that reported experiencing hunger in the previous three months.
'We are looking at conditional cash transfers through the Department of Social Welfare,' Mr Aquino's spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, said when asked what the government would do to try to reverse the trend.
The social welfare department will identify the poorest families most in need of the money, he told reporters.
Budget Secretary Butch Abad said earlier the funds would come from a cancelled 3.3 billion peso (S$98 million) programme set up by the previous government by which cash was given to schools to feed students.
Jul 21, 2010