TACLOBAN CITY, 16May2016 –- Poverty incidence in Eastern Visayas has worsened between 2012 to 2015, making the region as the country’s second poorest, based on the latest Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) result, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported.
Poverty level inched up to 47.3 percent during the first half of 2015 from 45.4 percent three years earlier. The region moved one notch up and dislodged Soccsksargen as the second poorest region in the country.
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao remained the poorest area in the country with a poverty incidence of 59 percent, according to PSA’s recent report.
The 2015 FIES cannot be compared from the result of 2014 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS), which ranked Eastern Visayas as the country’s poorest. Poverty incidence in the region has reached a record-high 54.9 percent based on 2014 APIS.
FIES provides data on family income and expenditure, which include among others levels of consumption by item of expenditure as well as sources of income in cash and in kind.
APIS, on the other hand, is a nationwide survey that presents data on the socioeconomic profile of Filipino families, and other information that relates to their living conditions.
Among provinces, Northern Samar is the poorest in 2015 with an incidence of 61.6 percent, which means that six out of every 10 people in the province are poor. In 2012, the province posted a 53.1 percent poverty level.
Between 2012 to 2015, poverty situation got worse in the provinces of Leyte (40.2 percent to 46.7 percent) and Samar (44 percent to 49.5 percent).
In contrast, economic conditions of people have improved in Biliran (28.1 percent to 18.3 percent), Eastern Samar (67.1 percent to 50 percent), and Southern Leyte (42.8 percent to 36.6 percent).
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Director Bonifacio Uy said impacts of natural calamities such as the 2013 supertyphoon “Yolanda” largely contributed to poor living conditions of families, especially those who are largely dependent on farming.
About one third of the region’s population depends on agriculture and fishery to sustain their basic needs.
“While agriculture remains the primary source of employment, a high poverty incidence still besets the population of our farmers and fisher folks. The common problems ranged from bureaucratic to climatic,” Uy said.
Previous assessment pointed out to inadequate infrastructure support, weak market linkages, poor financial capability of agricultural workers, low technology adoption, and vulnerability to climate change, as among the root causes of low land productivity and gross value added of the agriculture sector in Eastern Visayas.
“The enormity of Yolanda’s impact in late 2013 aggravated the sector’s bearish performance even more,” he added.
But even before the destructive typhoon struck, poverty level had steadily increased from 41.4 percent in 2006, 43.8 percent in 2009 to 45.4 percent in 2012.
The NEDA official hopes that massive utilization of post-Yolanda recovery funds will help improve the economy this year and onwards.
In the national level, poverty incidence among Filipinos was estimated at 26.3 percent, which is better than the 27.9 percent level recorded in 2012. (SARWELL Q. MENIANO/PNA)