A Mexican official urged recipients of anti-poverty assistance to indicate on two surveys that they had not suffered hunger in recent months, an audio recording uploaded to local media revealed.

Leobardo Hernandez, the Social Programs chief for Piedras Negras, a city in the northern state of Coahuila, on Tuesday instructed beneficiaries of the "Prospera" program to answer in surveys to be conducted by the Social Development Secretariat and the National Statistics Institute, or INEGI, that they had sufficient food.

In a passionate speech, Hernandez prepared an auditorium full of people to respond to different survey questions they would face, the recording, uploaded Friday, shows.

"Have you gone hungry over the past three months?" he asked, reading out the question. "No!" those in attendance responded in unison.

"Have any of your elderly relatives gone hungry?" he asked. "No!" they answered.

"Have you sometimes had to go without breakfast, lunch or dinner?" he asked. "No!" those in the auditorium shouted out once again.

The official then repeated the same questions and told the program beneficiaries that answering that they had suffered hunger in the region would mean that "Prospera" (formerly known as "Oportunidades") had been completely ineffectual.

Delivery of economic assistance corresponding to the first two months of 2016 began in that city on Tuesday.

After the cash payments were delivered, the INEGI and the Social Development Secretariat gauge the benefits of the program through surveys, the first of which were to be conducted on Friday, March 11.

Mexico's poverty rate increased by 0.7 percentage points between 2012 and 2014 to 46.2 percent of the population, which equates to roughly 55.3 million people, the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy, or Coneval, said last year.

Those living in extreme poverty, however, fell from 11.5 million to 11.4 million during that same period, or from 9.8 percent of the total population to 9.5 percent.

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