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Household Food Insecurity and COVID-19 Social Safety Nets in Cavite, Philippines

The COVID-19 restrictions have caused economic losses that affected food availability and accessibility, thereby compromising people’s lifestyles and putting the already existing poor households into severe food insecurity. As such, national government agencies and local government units in the Philippines provided emergency cash assistance and food aid as safety nets during the pandemic to help vulnerable households cope with the impending economic crisis and to improve food security in the country. This cross-sectional study assesses the association of social safety net programs with household food security (i.e., food secure, consistently food insecure, and newly food insecure) in Cavite province, Philippines. Findings show that being beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and the Social Amelioration Program are associated with being consistently and newly food insecure. Furthermore, households that obtained food from the community pantry, a volunteer-led movement during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic are also associated with food insecurity. On the other hand, the households that were provided with food packs, across different socioeconomic conditions, are not significantly associated with food insecurity. The study also affirms that households most vulnerable to food crises in the context of COVID-19 are those who are consistently food insecure and were already exposed to critical food and dietary deprivations before the onset of the pandemic. There is much to be done to improve the safety net programs in the country. The study results can add information and policy recommendations toward strengthening the services for vulnerable population groups to withstand short- and long-term food system disruptions and eventually build food-resilient households and communities.


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