Siayan is RP’s poorest municipality

THE municipality of Siayan in Zamboanga del Norte is the poorest locale and has the most severe form of poverty in the Philippines, according to the 2003 City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates recently released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).

The study, funded by the World Bank, surveyed 1,622 municipalities and cities all over the country. It ranked municipalities according to poverty incidence, poverty gap and severity of poverty.

In all the categories, Siayan ranked first. A third-class municipality with a population of 34,588 in 2007, most of Siayan’s residents fish and farm as their main source of livelihood.

The NSCB said in terms of poverty incidence, Siayan was first with a poverty incidence of 97.5 percent and coefficient of variation equal to 1.4 percent.

Siayan’s poverty gap is estimated at 63.2 percent, which means its residents are not only poor but their incomes are also far from the threshold compared with other poor municipalities.

The municipality also had the most severe type of poverty based on an index of 42.9 percent.

“Many residents of this municipality are poor with incomes that are far from the poverty line. In addition, the poor residents of the municipality are in very severe poverty state. Hence, being first in terms of the three poverty measures indicates that a considerable amount of resources is needed to alleviate poverty in this area,” the NSCB said.

Among the poorest 40 municipalities of the country, five were in Luzon; two in the province of Kalinga in the Cordillera Autonomous Region; one in the province of La Union in Region I; two from Region 4-B; and one each in the provinces of Palawan and Oriental Mindoro.

The second-poorest is Tanudan, a fourth-class municipality in the province of Kalinga. In this remote community, almost nine of 10 residents live below the poverty line.

The lowest poverty incidence estimated among the 40 municipalities is 74.3 percent, indicating that at least seven of 10 residents are poor.

In the Visayas, the seven municipalities on the list were from Region VIII, specifically in the province of Western Samar, which was considered the poorest province in 2003.

Mindanao accounted for 28 of 40 poorest municipalities in the list mostly from Regions IX, X, XI and Caraga. The municipalities in Mindanao are found in the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte with seven; also seven in Zamboanga del Sur; one in Davao del Norte; three in Davao del Sur; four in Agusan del Sur; two in Surigao del Norte; and four in and Lanao del Norte.

“It can be said that within a province that is not generally considered poor, there are municipalities that are very poor and need more assistance compared with other municipalities or cities in the same province,” the study stated. (Business Mirror)

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