By JONAS CABILES SOLTES
NAGA CITY: According to poverty estimates released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) in March 2012, the capital town of CamNorte has the lowest poverty incidence rate among the cities and municipalities in the Bicol Region.
NSCB, using 2009 data, estimates that poverty incidence in Daet is 21 per cent. It means only two in every 10 families in the municipality are living below poverty line or on a daily income lower than P231, the poverty threshold used by the NSCB, the “policy-making and coordinating body on statistical matters in the country.”
Daet Mayor Tito Sarion this week said microfinance program, partly, was the reason why his town is easing out of poverty.
“The microfinance program of Daet Livelihood Development Center side by side with the promotion of One Town One Product (OTOP) program of the Department of Trade and Industry directly addresses the socio-economic needs of individuals,” said Sarion.
He said the microfinance program of the municipal government had provided P5,000 to P25,000 capitals to indigent individuals and had linked individuals to other financing institutions when there would be need for bigger capitalization.
“We provide intensive training to ensure that the fund would grow and make borrowers really productive,” he said.
Romulo Virola, Secretary-General of the NSCB, recognized Daet as the least poor city or municipality in the region in August.
Virac, the capital town of Catanduanes has the second lowest poverty incidence rate in the region at 22.7.
“A critical factor towards success of our poverty reduction program is the determination of local government executives to implement innovative ideas where traditional approaches have failed for many years already,” said Virola in a statement posted on the website of the NSCB.
NCSB, however, estimates that Bicol, along with Cordillera Administrative Region, Eastern Visayas, and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, still remains to be one of the poorest regions in the country, with several towns in CamSur and Albay having high poverty incidence rates.
Meanwhile, Virola said Masbate City attained the biggest reduction of poverty in Bicol from 2003 to 2009. In 2012, the southernmost city of Bicol has the fourth lowest poverty incidence rate in the region after Daet, Virac, and Naga City.
Naga City, an independent component city of Camarines Sur, has a poverty incidence rate of 24.4.
Masbate Mayor Socrates Tuason said the city government made the stride by funding agricultural programs and campaigning hard against illegal fishing so that marginal fishers would earn more.
Tuason said the city also promoted and supported development of small and medium enterprises. – Bicol Mail