LEGAZPI CITY --- Poverty situation in Bicol has turned for the better although it remains a social issue that needs to be addressed, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said yesterday.
Cynthia Perdiz, PSA regional director, said the magnitude of poor families, according to a study in 2015, showed slight improvement compared to those in 2006, 2009, and 2012.
Perdiz said Bicol currently has a total population of 5.7 million, with 1.2 million households.
She said there was a remarkable improvement in poverty incidence in Bicol. From 35.4 percent or 342,285 poor families in 2006, the number slowly fell to 27.5 percent or 336,000 poor families in 2015.
According to her, a family in Bicol should earn at least P21,500 per month as poverty threshold, but “below this income bracket that family would belong to the category of poor. ”
Perdiz said as far as provincial data nationwide is concerned, the provinces with the highest poverty incidence among families in both 2012 and 2015 include: Bukidnon, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Negros Oriental, Northern Samar, Sarangani, Sulu and Zamboanga del Norte.
Based on the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Listahanan 2 study in 2017, three out of 10 households in Bicol are considered poor.
Out of a total of 1,082,852 Bicol households assessed, 372,451, or 34.4 percent of households were found to be poor, the study indicated.
Camarines Sur, the biggest province in the region, has the highest number of identified poor households with 127,873 or 34.3 percent, followed by Masbate with 78,475 or 21.1 percent while Catanduanes being the smallest province has the least number of poor households with 15,274 or 4.1 percent.
Albay has 69,955 or 18 percent, Sorsogon with 48,664 or 13 percent, and Camarines Norte with 32,210 or 8 percent.
Camarines Sur has the highest number of poor households due to its land size, the study said.
As for the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), they have named the provinces of Masbate, Catanduanes, Sorsogon Camarines Norte, and Camarines Sur as among the 40 provinces in the country identified as the poorest and most vulnerable to climate change.
According to the NAPC study the country’s poverty incidence stands at 22 percent but they are targeting to put ti down to 14 percent once government services are brought to the rural communities.