Food is not a problem in the Philippines. Anywhere you go, you are sure to find a food store or a restaurant from where you can grab a bite to eat if ever hunger strikes you. The Philippines is amply supplied with food and foodstuff through local production and through imports. The thing is, not everyone has the money to buy food that is sufficient enough for one’s needs.
Hunger is a reality in the Philippines. Around half of the total population lives below the poverty line, and approximately 70% of these poor people are located in the provinces. According to the statistics made available by the Philippines’ National Statistical Coordination Board, a Filipino family comprised of five members needs around Php. 8,254 (US$191.95) every month in order to live decently. This is according to the prevailing living standards in 2006. Unfortunately, most of these families living below the poverty line are made up of more than five members and are earning less than Php. 8,254 monthly. As thus, the power to purchase food that will adequately provide the members of a family in the poverty line with the nutrition that they need is sorely challenged.
Children are the ones most marginalized by this situation, and it all starts in the womb. A pregnant woman who is not getting enough of the nutrients that her body needs naturally gives birth to a baby with a weakened body. As the child grows older, the lack of nutrition available in his or her diet further affects the growth and development of his or her body.
Malnutrition is one of the greatest problems when it comes to children of poor families in the Philippines. It is reported that 4 million preschool children (aged 5 and below) are underweight and stunted. That number represents 32% of the population of children in the country. Of the specific challenges that needed to be faced when it comes to malnutrition, protein energy malnutrition is the biggest, followed closely by iron and iodine deficiencies as well as Vitamin A deficiencies. Hunger and malnutrition leads to vulnerability to disease, especially in children.
There is enough food in the Philippines. Local production and imports have seen to it that the country is amply supplied with food, and it can be readily purchased anywhere you go in the country. Unfortunately, not all people can buy the food that they need. Hunger is a reality in the Philippines.