The Poverty in the Bicol Region 2

Last Wednesday, the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) released the official poverty statistics. One of the highlights is the increase of poverty incidence in the country to 26.9% for families in 2006 compared to 24.4% in 2003. Gustong sabihon, maski gurano kagayon kan mga uru-istorya ni Presidente Gloria Arroyo manungod sa ekonomiya, dai pa man giraray ini nagtagos sa baba lalo na sa mga puru-pamilya.

Another highlight is the slight improvement of the ranking of the Bicol Region from being the second poorest in the year 2000 to the fourth poorest region. And poverty incidence also decreased by about 5%. The problem, the figures are still almost twice the figures in the national level. Bicol’s poverty incidence in the year 2000 is 45.3% as opposed to the country’s 27.5%; and 40.7% to 26.9% for the regional and countrywide figures, respectively, for the year 2006.

The latest figures also show the province of Masbate sliding in the list from being the poorest province in the country in the year 2000 with 70.2% poverty incidence to the 8th most poor in 2006 with 59.5%. Maogmang mamundo na istorya. Maogma dahil nag-slide pababa pero mamundo dahil nasa top-ten most poor province pa man giraray an Masbate. Kun sabagay, progress is not attained overnight.masbate.gif

Sarong eksplinasyon kun nata nagbawas an poverty incidence sa Masbate iyo an conversion kan Municipality of Masbate to a city. Dahil digdi, nadagdagan an inaapod na internal revenue allotment o ang parte kan local na gobyerno sa income kan nasyon.

Commerce in the area also became active in one way or another. But it only influenced the nearby municipalities. Cawayan, Placer and San Pascual, ang mga munisipyo sa mag-ibong na puro kan probinsiya, dai man naapektuhan. Ini an mga lugar na lalong nagpapataas kan insidente ki kapobrehan sa bilog na probinsya. Mala ta base sa estimate, maabot sa kabangang milyon (487,672) an tutal na pobre sa lugar.

But while Masbate’s poverty incidence decreased, the case is otherwise for Camarines Sur, Sorsogon and Albay. Poverty incidence in the Villafuerte’s “Premier Province of Bicolandia” increased from 47.2% in 2000 to 49.9% in 2006 while in the province at the tip of the Bicol Peninsula, the figure hike to 55.3% from 43.5% in 2003.

The land of Sarong Banggi also recorded an increase from 42.7% in 2003 to 46.2% in 2006.

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The increase of poverty figures can be explained by the typhoons that hit the country particularly Albay, Sorsogon and Camarines Sur. Being largely dependent on agriculture, the typhoons messed up the local economy. To note, it was also in 2006 when one of the greatest tragedy happened in Albay — the landslide that buried almost all areas in the southern quadrant of Mayon Volcano leaving thousands of bodies either dead or missing. Similarly, the typhoons also flooded the ricefields of Camarines Sur known for being the breadbasket of the Bicol Region.

(to be continued)

Poverty in the Bicol Region Part 1 Poverty in the Bicol Region Part 3

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The Poverty in the Bicol Region

A colleague asked: The Bicol Region is rich in natural as well as human resources. How come it still remains poor?

I immediately remember the stories about Japan after World War II. It was so poor and so war torn, how come the Land of the Rising Sun still became rich?

I was tongue-tied at first. Pero siyempre, the usual reasons: geographic location and, of course, politics. Later, I added: culture and the definition of development.

The region is located facing the Pacific Ocean and within the ring of fire. Mala ngani ta sinasabing sa Bicol, partikular sa Catanduanes, naghahale an mga bagyo. In a sense, ika man daw rapidohon ki dai mababa sa sampulong bagyo taon-taon kun dai ka man nanggad magtios? Kun wara man nin bagyo yaon man an Bulkang Mayon asin Bulusan. Saen ka kaan ngonyan puruton?

Politics is also another explanation. Sa kada probinsiya sa Bicol, mabilang mo lang sa muro an mga bagong tubo na pulitiko. Gustong sabihon, kung an mga tawo o pulitiko na mamayo iyo na sanang iyo, ano kaya an progreso na puwedeng expectaron kan mga Bicolano? Sa Camarines Sur halimbawa, pirang henerasyon na ki mga Andaya, Fuentebella, Villafuerte asin Alfelor an nagkakapot sa representasyon sa Kongreso asin sa mga lokal na Gobyerno? Sa Masbate, pirang Kho, Espinosa asin bistadong mga apelyido an nagpapasuru-surublian sa mga puwesto sa gobyerno? Siring man sa Sorsogon? Sa Camarines Norte?

Sa Catanduanes, medyo nawara na an mga Verceles pero sa mga mayor, halos pararehong pandok pa man giraray. Sa Albay, nawara na man an mga Imperial pero an mga Lagman, yaon pa. In simple terms, even if these leaders rule their respective turfs a hundred years, dai talaga mababago an rehiyon lalo na kung warang bagong idea na malaog — the very explanation why the region still remains the second poorest region (next to ARMM) despite the fact that there are a number of Bicolano leaders who held and are holding significant posts in the national government. Isabay mo na sa listahan an depuntong si Raul Roco, the Aytonas and Zigas of Albay, Villafuerte, the Andayas, Fuentebellas, and even Manny Gaite who just warmed his seat in Malacanang.

Base sa factsheets kan National Statistics Coordination Board, almost half of the Bicolanos are poor. In 2003, the figure was 41%. The highest poverty incidence is in Masbate followed by Camarines Norte. Interestingly, these are the areas where gold mines are located. Kaya an hapot: Nata?

NSCBOne explanation is, wealth is not fairly distributed in these areas. Base sa reports, makukua mo an saro sa mga pinakamayaman sa Pilipinas diyan sa Masbate siring man an saro sa pinakapobre. Sa ibang lugar, arog kan Albay asin Camarines Sur, medyo nakokorehiran maski diit an economic gap between the rich and the poor dahil medyo aktibo an mga negosyo. Yun nga lang, daog pa man talaga giraray kan ibang lugar arog kan Cebu asin Davao. Bayae na an Manila ta talagang aktibo an komersiyo diyan.

Dahil digdi, puwede tang idagdag na dahil iyo man sanang iyo an mga pulitiko na nagkakapot, an mga polisiya pag-abot sa ekonomiya dai man na mga pagbabago. Siyempre ibang iristoryahan an Naga City na sa ngonyan, lalong nagtataas an levelo kan pag-asenso. Apwera kaya sa aktibong mga negosyante, medyo liberal man an polisiya kan lokal na gobyerno pag-abot sa investments. Mala ngani ta in a span of a few years, apwera sa LCC naglaog na man an SM. Samantalang sa Legazpi, matapos an pagbukas kan Gaisano, wara ng nagsunod. Siring man sa mga siyudad kan Masbate asin Ligao. Ini an dahilan kun nata nasa lowest income class pa man giraray an mga lokal na gobyernong ini.

(To be continued…)

Poverty in the Bicol Region Part 2 Poverty in the Bicol Region Part 3