Caraga: poorest region no more

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 April) – Caraga region is no longer the  country’s “poorest region,” a title it held in 2006 and 2009.  In fact it dropped to sixth place among 17 regions in 2012, records from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) show.

Comprising the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Islands, the region posted 34.1% poverty incidence in 2012, from a steady 43.3% in 2006 and 2009, according to the “First Semester Per Capita Poverty Threshold and Poverty Incidence among Families, by Region and Province: 2006, 2009 and 2012” released by the NSCB this week.

The 9.2% drop from 2009 to 2012 dislodged Caraga from the top spot as “poorest region.” It is now the sixth placer, along with Region 5 or Bicol, at 34.1%.

The five poorest regions are ARMM (46.9%) followed by Region 12/Southwestern Mindanao, also known as Soccsksargen (37.5%),  Region 8/Eastern Visayas (37.2%),   Region 9/Western Mindanao/Zamboanga Region (36.9%) and  Region 10/Northern Mindanao (35.6%).

Within Caraga, the data on Dinagat Islands province, the country’s 80th province and Mindanao’s 26th,  is not available in the NSCB findings but  is likely incorporated in Surigao del Norte, owing to the complications brought about by the changes in its political status. Dinagat was part of Surigao del Norte until the province was created in 2006 but its creation was declared null and void by the Supreme Court in 2010. The  decision, however, was reversed by the Supreme Court the following year.

Poverty incidence in the two Agusans and Surigaos from 2009 to 2012 all went down from a low of 1.5% to a high of 13.3%:  Surigao del Norte at 13.3% from 47.7 to 34.6; Agusan del Sur at 12.7% from 51.3 to 38.6; Surigao del Sur at 11.4% from 43.2 to 31.8 and Agusan del Norte at 1.5% from 33.5 to 32.

In 2006, poverty incidence in Surigao del Norte was 45.3%; in Agusan del Sur it was 45.7%; in Surigao del Sur 45.1% and in Agusan del Norte, 37.3%.

The rankings of the Caraga provinces also improved as of 2012. Agusan del Sur, which ranked third in poverty incidence among 79 provinces nationwide in 2009 is down to 16th; Surigao del Sur, which ranked sixth in 2009 is down to 26th; Surigao del Sur, which ranked 13th in 2006 is down to 33rd.  Only Agusan del Norte’s ranking went up, but only by one point, from 32nd in 2009 to 31st in 2012.

MindaNews ranked the poverty incidence of Mindanao’s 26 provinces in 2012, based on the data of the NSCB. Their ranking among 79 provinces is indicated in parentheses after the poverty incidence.

1.Lanao del Sur…………………68.9%       (1)
2. Maguindanao………………..57.8%       (4)
3. Zamboanga del Norte…….50.3%      (5)
4. Davao Oriental………………48.0%      (6)
5. Sarangani……………………..46.5%      (8)
6. North Cotabato……………..43.9%      (11)
7. Bukidnon………………………43.3%      (13)
8. Lanao del Norte…………….42.5%      (14)
9. Sultan Kudarat………………41.6%     (15)
10. Agusan del Sur……………..38.6%     (16)
11. Zamboanga Sibugay………36.8%      (18)
12. Misamis Occidental……….36.6%      (19)
13. Compostela Valley………. 36.3%     (21)
14. Camiguin………………. …… 34.9%     (24)
15. Surigao del Norte…………..34.6%     (26)
16. Basilan………………………….32.5%     (29)
17. Agusan del Norte………..…32%        (31)
18. Surigao del Sur………………31.8%    (33)
19. Davao del Norte…………….30.9%     (34)
20. Sulu………………………………30.3%     (36)
21. Zamboanga del Sur………..30.1%     (37)
22. South Cotabato…………..…28%       (40)
23. Misamis Oriental……………25%       (45)
24. Davao del Sur………………..22.3%    (51)
25. Tawi-tawi………………………20.8%    (56)
26. Dinagat Islands (data not available; likely incorporated in Surigao del Norte)

The NSCB report does not state the factors that led to the drop in poverty incidence in Caraga.

In its “Highlights of the 2012 First Semester Official Poverty Statistics,” the NSCB said that “while it might seem that there are no changes in poverty conditions, data shows that Caraga improved its poverty incidence significantly from 43 percent in the first semesters of 2006 and 2009, to 34 percent in the 1st half of 2012.”  (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

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