MANILA, Philippines – Alleviating poverty has been on the top of every presidential candidate’s campaign promise since time immemorial. It has always been an issue close to the heart of many Filipinos, and the effects of this problem cut through most if not all sector-based concerns.
To keep track of the achievements attained by the government in its continuous fight against poverty and its effects on people and society, the Philippine Statistics Authority conducts a survey every three years checking poverty incidence among families and individuals in the metro and in the countryside.
Poverty incidence among Filipinos, according to the PSA website, is the “proportion of people below the poverty line to the total population”. This can give government officials a clue as to where anti-poverty programs are mostly needed, and to average readers, it can give us a peek of the uneven distribution of economic progress felt by Filipinos through the years.
Latest data from PSA showed that the nationwide “magnitude of poor population”, or the number of individuals classified as “poor”, added up to 21,927,009 in 2015, down by almost two million people three years prior when the same variable was pegged at 23,745,895 in 2012.
While this is still higher than the 1991 estimate of 21,749,656, factoring in the increase in population during the 24-year gap makes this value a feat for the government’s anti-poverty agencies.
Meanwhile, the 2015 national “poverty incidence among population” is at 21.6, a 3.6-point decrease from the 2012 rate of 26.3 and the lowest among the four most recent full-year values provided by the survey.
Only six regions got a lower poverty incidence value compared to the national average: Metro Manila has the lowest at 3.9, followed by Calabarzon at 9.1, and Central Luzon at 11.2.
Completing the list are Ilocos Region at 13.1, Cagayan Valley Region at 15.8 and Cordillera with 22.8. It is also worthy to note that all these six regions are from Luzon, and geographically contained in the north compared to Luzon regions with higher poverty incidence than the national average.
Mindanao regions, on the other hand, held the top spots of the poverty incidence list. The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao ranked first at 53.7 poverty incidence rate among population, followed by Caraga at 39.1 and Eastern Visayas at 38.7.
The magnitude of poor population residing in the 11 regions with higher poverty incidence compared to the national average made up 17,326,050 or 79 percent of the national value (21,927,009).
As for the provinces, Batanes recorded a zero-point poverty incidence, while Bataan closely followed with just a two-point rating. Benguet came in third of the lowest ranking provinces in terms of poverty incidence at 3.5, Bulacan in fourth at 4.5, and Pampanga in fifth place with 4.9.
Metro Manila, divided into four districts in the study, also showed low poverty incidence rates. The second district, which is composed of Mandaluyong, Marikina, Pasig, Quezon City, and San Juan, received the lowest poverty incidence with 2.9.
The third district, made up of Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela, only got a 4.1 rating; the fourth district – Las Piñas, Makati, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Pasay, Pateros, and Taguig – got a 4.5 poverty incidence rate; and the first district – with the City of Manila as the lone member – got a 5.1 poverty rate.
Meanwhile, four of the five provinces with highest poverty incidence among population were from Mindanao. Lanao del Sur ranked the highest with 71.9 points, followed by Maguindanao as far second with 57.2. Northern Samar, the only non-Mindanao province in the top five, got a 56.2 rating, while Saranggani and Sulu, ranking fourth and fifth, got 55.2 and 54.9, respectively.
The magnitude of poor Filipinos from provinces with higher poverty incidence than the national average tallied to 15,761,523, or 71.88 percent of the national total. – RealTalk, February 7, 2017