By Rey S. Perosa
TACLOBAN CITY — Regional Director Wilma Perante of the Philippine Statistics Authority 8 on Friday reported that the poverty incidence among families in the region in 2018 has improved significantly to 24 percent from 32.9 percent in 2015.
Among the six provinces in the region, Biliran registered the lowest poverty incidence pegged at 13.8 percent in 2018 from 17.4 percent in 2015 while Eastern Samar registered the highest poverty incidence at 40.9 percent followed by Northern Samar at 27.4 percent, Samar at 22.1 percent, Leyte (including Tacloban City) at 21.9 percent, and Southern Leyte at 17.2 percent.
Perante added that significant improvements in poverty incidence among families between 2015 and 2018 were noted in three provinces — Northern Samar, Samar, and Southern Leyte. Said provinces moved one cluster higher from 2015 while Eastern Samar and Leyte maintained their 2015 cluster categories — Cluster 2 and Cluster 3, respectively. Only the province of Biliran belonged to cluster 4 in 2018 and no province in the region was included in Culster 1.
All provinces in the country were clustered from 1 to 5 using poverty incidence among families as the clustering variable. Cluster 1 comprises the bottom poor provinces and cluster 5 comprises the least poor provinces.
The 2018 poverty incidence among families implies that about 1 in every 4 families in the region has income below the poverty threshold or the amount needed to buy the basic food and non-food needs, Director Perante said.
Perante said that in 2018, a family of five in Eastern Visayas needed at least P10,408 on the average in a month to meet these needs. This represents an increase of 11.7 percent from the poverty threshold in 2015 which was estimated at P9,321.
For her part, OIC-Regional Director Meylene C. Rosales of the National Economic and Development Authority – Region 8 expressed elation on the remarkable decrease in poverty incidence in the region and in all the provinces.
“The decrease in poverty incidence was fairly broad-based and that progress has been made not just in terms of increasing overall income but reducing inequality as well,” Director Rosales said.
Rosales was hopeful that the recent improvement on the poverty situation of the region will inspire and remind everyone to remain steadfast in working towards achieving a matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay para sa lahat. (LDL/RSP/PIA8)