from the Manila Bulletin
28% of total number of families in region are considered poor
Dexter A. See
BAGUIO CITY — The country’s 7.3 percent growth rate last year and the implementation of poverty-alleviation projects have not helped improve the poverty situation in the Cordillera in the past three years.
This assessment loomed after it was reported that the poverty incidence in the Cordillera has worsened, indicating that the benefits of the country’s high growth rate has not trickled down to the countryside.
The National Statistics Coordination Board’s (NSCB) computation of the annual per capita threshold indicated that the poverty incidence and magnitude of poverty has gone from bad to worse.
The NSCB statistics indicated the number of poor families in the Cordillera has increased from 72,040 in 2003 to 87,050 in 2006.
The statistics likewise indicated that 28.8 percent of the region’s total number of families is living under the poverty threshold compared to 25.8 percent in 2003.
The number of poor families in the country increased to 4,677,305 in 2006 from 4,022,695 in 2003.
Poor families are those whose income is lower than the computed poverty threshold in their areas.
The Cordillera poverty threshold is pegged at P16,810 income per person annually, one of the highest in the country.
NSCB defines "poverty threshold" as the computed amount needed by a person or family in order to meet basic food and non-food needs.
Abra registered the highest number of poverty incidence with 22,484 poor families. This increased from 17,339 in 2003.
Kalinga came in second with 16,113, followed by Mountain Province with 14,254; Apayao, 12,928; Ifugao, 11,082; and Benguet, 10,990 poor families.
While the poverty incidence in the region is 28.8 percent of the total number of families, it is considered insignificant due to the huge number of poor families in the whole country.
Two Cordillera provinces, Apayao, which recorded 78.5 percent poverty incidence, and Abra which had 50.1 party incidence, were included in the list of 10 poorest provinces in the country.
NSCB ranking shows that the 10 poorest provinces are Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Norte, Maguindanao, Apayao, Surigao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Northern Samar, Masbate, Abra, and Misamis Occidental.
The same NDCB ranking shows that Benguet remains in the list of the top 10 richest provinces in the country outside Metro Manila.
The richest provinces based on NCSB ranking are Batanes, which registered no poor family, Rizal, Bataan, Cavite, Benguet, Pampanga, Bulacan, Laguna, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino.
In 2003, Benguet ranked the second richest province in the country, while Mountain Province and Kalinga were included in the list of the 10 poorest provinces.
It was noted, however, that the national government has been pouring funds on the Cordillera in an effort to speed up development in the region.
Most of the funds are allotted for the rehabilitation of vital roads to improve transportation.
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