The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) will be commemorating the National Week for Overcoming Extreme Poverty from October 17-23, 2015 with the theme, “Building a sustainable future: Coming together to end poverty and discrimination”.
The said event is in accordance to the Presidential Proclamation No. 269 series of 1993, declaring October 17 as National Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty, and Presidential Proclamation No. 717, series of 2004, declaring October 17-23 as National Week for Overcoming Extreme Poverty. It is likewise in line with the United Nations’ “International Day for the Eradication of Poverty” on October 17, 2015. This is conducted to encourage various sectors to help in putting an end to poverty.
According to NAPC, poverty incidence in 2014 increased to 25.8%. Meaning, 1 in 4 Filipinos lives in poverty (20% or 1 out of 5 Filipino families) which is 1.2% higher compared to the 2013 first semester poverty statistics. The higher count of poor people is because food prices and the result of super typhoon Yolanda.
What is poverty incidence? It is the proportion of poor individuals/families to the population; those whose income fall below the poverty threshold or those who cannot afford to provide for their basic needs.
To be considered non-poor, a family with 5 members must earn at least P8, 778 a month. An individual also needs to earn at least P10, 534 for six months so he or she won’t be considered poor.
Following are the Top 10 provinces in the Philippines that have the highest poverty incidence among families from 2006 to 2012:
1. Lanao del Sur
Lanao del Sur, is a province of the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It remains to be number 1 among the provinces with the most number of Poor Families with 67.3% poverty incidence. 2010 Census and Housing Population conducted by Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) also shows that there was a drastic drop of the population in the said province with 933,260 number of people which is −6.98% from 1,138,544 in 2007.
2. Eastern Samar
Eastern Samar is a province of the Philippines located in the Eastern Visayas region. It is now the second poorest province in the Philippines with 55.4% poverty incidence. Its main economic resource is agriculture and fishery.
Apayao is part of the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. It is the least densely populated province with an area of 4413.35 square kilometers and a population of only 112,636 as of 2010. And it comes 3rd among the poorest provinces of the Philippines with 54.7% poverty incidence.
Maguindanao is under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It is 4th among the poorest provinces in that country with 54.5% poverty incidence. This province became one of the most talked-about provinces because of the Maguindanao massacre wherein 57 people were killed, including the wife and sisters, supporters of Buluan Vice-Mayor, Esmael Mangudadatu, local journalists, and bystanders. And when the bloody Mamasapano encounter happened on January 25, 2015 where 44 members of the Special Action Force were killed allegedly by Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Mamasapano after they killed the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir aka Marwan.
5. Zamboanga del Norte
Zamboanga del Norte is located in the Zamboanga Peninsula region. From being the poorest province of the Philippines back in 2006 with a poverty incidence rate of 64.6%, it is now at the 5th spot with 48.0% poverty incidence.
Sarangani is part of the South Cotabato-Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Sarangani-Gen. Santos City (SOCCSKSARGEN) and has a poverty incidence rate of 46.0%. Although it is located in Mindanao, Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion in this province 63% of the population being Roman Catholics.
7. North Cotabato
North Cotabato is also a part of SOCCSKSARGEN region and is located in the middle of Mindanao. With a 44.8% rate of poverty incidence, this province is a new member of the poorest provinces in the Philippines. Just like Sarangani, Roman Catholicism is the major religion in this province with 58% of the population being Roman Catholics. The reason for that is said to be because 71% of Cotabato’s population are actually from Luzon and Visayas, while the 18% of its population are indigenous communities namely, Maguindanao, Manobo, and T’boli.
8. Negros Oriental
Negros Oriental or “Eastern Negros” is a province of the Philippines located in the southeastern half of the Negros Island region. Despite the fact that it has been an electricity supplier to its neighboring provinces and having a good agricultural land, it still has a poverty incidence rate of 43.9%.
9. Northern Samar
Northern Samar is one of the three (3) provinces comprising the Island of Samar. Its tourism industry has great potential but is remains unknown to most tourists. Based on NAPC’s report, it has a poverty incidence of 43.5% which might be lessened once the tourist attractions of this province become fully utilized.
10. Western Samar
Western Samar is another new entry in the list of the poorest provinces in the country with 43.5% incidence of poverty, same with Northern Samar. This province was one of the most affected areas by the super typhoon Yolanda on 8 November 2013 which damaged the livelihood of the locals.
There are many factors that cause poverty like; employment issues, and high population growth, but the main factor affecting our country’s economy and the livelihood of Filipinos is the governance issues such as corruption which is rampant in the Philippines and security issues which are prevalent in Mindanao and other poor areas. Entrepreneurs will not be interested in investing money in a place where there is violence, which results to low employment opportunity and a bad economy.