Jericko Arangis

“Ang diet ko ay poverty.”

While it may sound humorous to jest using this line, it is not totally sarcasm. It’s someone’s nightmarish reality in this state of a regressing economy.

The Philippines has been long enduring the curse of being in the slums of poverty, malnutrition, and food scarcity. From the Negros famine in the 1980s until today’s imminent high poverty and hunger rate, the future of this country seemingly is in peril. Every rise and set of the sun on our horizon are reminders that some people don’t have a choice but to sleep on their empty, growling stomachs.

Grappling the nation in the muddy tracks, these socioeconomic issues are the horrendous lurking nightmares in the shadows behind the grand cityscapes and pleasing archipelagic landscapes.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations between June 28 and July 1, approximately 12.5 million individuals perceive themselves as economically disadvantaged. The same study revealed that 10.4% of Filipino households had encountered ‘involuntary hunger’ at least once within the preceding three months.

This increased percentage is between the 9.8% recorded in a March survey and the 11.8% reported in December 2022. Moreover, the Department of Health (DOH) raised concerns about the ongoing issue of malnutrition in the Philippines, emphasizing that the stunting rate among children aged 0-23 months has remained stagnant for the past decade. Approximately 21.6% of infants and young children across the country are affected by their hindered growth. Moreover, according to the IBON Foundation, the Philippines tops the list in the ASEAN region for food insecurity, amassing 50.9 million people who are moderately to severely food insecure.

These data illustrate that while the country advances in other fields, the worsening food security and nutrition issues are being overlooked. These unravel the many social injustices present in our community, and we are yet to be awakened from the horrors of these plagues.

Perhaps now is the moment to unite and strive that no child experiences hunger at bedtime, no family remains trapped in poverty, and realize that the expression, "Ang diet ko ay poverty," is a heartbreaking reality. This is a cause worth fighting for, not merely for statistical reasons, but for the nation's future—a future in which every Filipino child has the opportunity to flourish and realize their full potential.

Edited by Adrienne Bautista

Jericko Arangis is an English Language Studies student with a passion for liberal arts renaissance and a keen interest in journalism.