RDC: Despite economic growth, more families became poor

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Monday, April 14, 2014

THE number of poor families in Cebu dropped from 2006 to 2012, but not in Central Visayas.

Government surveys, the Regional Development Council (RDC) 7 announced, showed that the number of poor families in Cebu dropped from 209,301 in 2006 to 200,481 in 2009 and to 185,603 in 2012.

Out of all the families in Cebu, 30.7 percent fell below the annual poverty threshold of P15,064 in 2006. That percentage dropped to 26 percent in 2009, when the threshold was P17,770, and dropped further to 25.7 percent in 2012, when the threshold stood at P18,855.


The RDC 7 has announced that while Central Visayas brought down poverty incidence from
30.7 percent in 2006 to 25.7 percent in 2012, the actual number of families that fell below the poverty line increased from 345,870 to 405,694.

This suggests that economic gains could not cope with rapid population growth, said National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) 7 Public Information Officer Vittoria de Veyra.

She explained a survey on family income and expenditures is conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) every three years, and the latest one was in 2012.


Neda 7 Director Efren Carreon, the RDC 7 co-chair, said the Millennium Development Goal challenge is to reduce the poverty incidence in Central Visayas to 18.5 percent in 2015.

Neda records show the annual per capita poverty threshold in Region 7 was P13,963 in 2006, P16,662 in 2009 and P18,767 in 2012. (That, according to the government, was the minimum income for a family to meet is food and other basic requirements.)

Based on these thresholds, there were 411,431 poor families in 2006 in Central Visayas; 378,221 families in 2009; and 405,694 families in 2012.

In percentage terms, that meant that 30.7 percent of the region’s families earned less than the threshold in 2006; 26 percent in 2009; and 25.7 percent in 2012.


Carreon said the challenge of bringing poverty incidence down to 18.5 percent next year is a big one, considering the calamities that hit Central Visayas in recent years.

He cited the M7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu on Oct. 15, 2013; typhoon Yolanda, which affected northern Cebu and Bohol last Nov. 8, 2013; typhoon Sendong, which hit Negros Oriental in December 2011; and typhoon Pablo, which damaged parts of Siquijor in December 2012.

Last March 20, 2014, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad told the RDC 7 that the budgets for 2015 and 2016 will be more tedious, because there will be an evaluation of how the 2014 budget was spent.

If the proposed budget is for a social program, for example, the Department of Social Welfare and Development will be asked to report how many Filipinos were among “the poorest of the poor” on Jan. 1, 2014, and how many had their living conditions improve as a result of how the 2014 budget was used.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 15, 2014.

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