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Bicol’s poverty threshold drops

LEGAZPI CITY — Poverty incidence in Bicol significantly dropped by 20 percent last year, owing to the government anti-poverty interventions, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Listahanan Survey bared.

Arnel Garcia, DSWD regional director, said the agency Listahanan survey indicated that poor households in Bicol decreased by 20 percent or 91,847 households from the 461,292 in 2009 to 369,395 last year.

The second Listahanan survey that covered 1,074,005 million households covering rural and urban areas showed 34 percent or 369,395 were considered poor.

Garcia cited that Bicol’s poverty threshold ratio is 3 out of 10 families in the region are poor.

Garcia, in an interview, said that the significant drop in the number of poor families as compared to the 2009 survey may be attributed to the government’s initiated socio-economic development programs.

He cited the P7.6 billion funds it has spent for the anti-poverty program benefiting thousands of poor families through the Conditional Cast Transfer (CCT) popularly known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Kalahi-CIDSS) (Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrate Delivery of Social Service) and the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

The 4Ps program, government spent P4.4 billion in funds benefiting the SLP and poured in P380 million to finance livelihood and micro enterprise development project to 42,530 poor individuals, he said.

For the Kalahi-CIDSS, the agency spent P789 million for 532 community development projects in 26 poor towns in Bicol.

Garcia said with the billions of peso spent for social and anti-poverty project for Bicol’s poor families, a remarkable improvement in the level of living condition had been observed.

He said Masbate province had been delisted from the list of the poorest provinces across the country.

The DSWD's Listahanan assessment study indicates that most of these poor households in Bicol are found in rural areas with 84 percent or 310,706 while 16 percent or 58,689 are in urban areas.

Majority (53 percent) of the poor households live in houses with roofs and outer walls made of light materials, the study said.

The study also reveals that 123,238 households or 33 percent do not have access to electricity while 135,334 (36 percent) have no access to safe water source and 177,876 or 48 percent do not have toilets.

Other significant survey data indicate that of the 2.3 million poor individuals in Bicol, 52 percent or 1.2 million are male, 48 percent or 1.2 million are children and 3.8 percent or 87,928 are senior citizens while 1.3 percent or 29,346 have physical and mental disabilities.

As for their occupation, only 17,7 percent or 215,932 poor individuals are engaged in the agri sector as farmers, forestry worker or fishermen while the vast number or 624,221 individuals do not have any reported occupations.

The five-month enumeration and assessment period from May to September last year covered the entire Bicol with 3,471 villages, 114 cities and towns.

The province of Camarines Sur posted the biggest share with 126,476 poor households followed by Masbate with 77,227; Albay with 69,681; Sorsogon with 48,555; Camarines Norte with 32,190 and Catanduanes with 15,266 poor households. (PNA)

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