By: Marites Badilla
ELEVEN out of 20 poorest provinces in the country are located in Mindanao.
The poverty in these provinces have not been addressed by the previous administrations since Corazon Aquino’s presidency and the continuous flooding worsens the poverty level of the said provinces, according to Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.
Taguiwalo cited the case of Sultan Kudarat where flooding is already a perennial problem.
Taguiwalo said DSWD is not remiss in doing its obligation to the affected residents of Sultan Kudarat due to massive flooding every year.
“[T]he perennial flooding in Sultan Kudarat should be taken notice of by other national agencies given that every year, thousands of families are affected, infrastructure and houses damaged and destroyed,” she pointed out.
Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data disclosed that Sulra Kudarat is one of the 11 poor provinces in Mindanao.
According to Taguiwalo, flooding increases the poverty levels in the poor provinces.
She said she is very much will seriously elevate the issue to the Cabinet level so that the national government will finally and decisively address the problem.
PSA 2015 data revealed that the top 11 of 20 poorest provinces in the country are found in Mindanao.
Topping the list was Lanao del Sur with a 74.3 percent poverty incidence.
Aside from Lanao del Sur nd Sultan Kudarat, the other poor provinces in Mindanao Sulu, Sarangani, Maguindanao, Bukidnon, Zamboanga del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato and Zamboanga Sibugay.
The other poorest provinces are found in the Visayas, which include Northern Samar, Siquijor, Eastern Samar, Western Samar, Leyte, and Negros Oriental.
Flooding is also a perennial problem in Samar, particularly Eastern.
The poorest provinces in Luzon that are part of the 20 poorest provinces in the country are Catanduanes, Sorsogon, and Mt. Province.
Taguiwalo explained that “The fight against poverty is largely being fought in the provinces, in the far-flung areas where government support is long in coming when needed.”
The DSWD and its regional offices will do their part in monitoring the status of poverty of the Filipinos in the regions and will subsequently endorse DSWD findings and observations to the national government and its other agencies for the national government to collectively come up with solutions, she added.