ARMM is poorest region in 2012 but poverty incidence dropped in island provinces

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 April) –   The five-province, two-city Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) posted the highest poverty incidence among families in the country’s 17 regions nationwide in 2012,  with Lanao del Sur posting the highest at 68.9% and Maguindanao at 57.8% according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).

The Philippines’ poverty incidence among families was 23.4% in 2006,  22.9% in 2009 and 22.3% in 2012., the NSCB said.

Nationwide, “22 out of 100 families were estimated to be poor in the 1st semester of 2012,” the NSCB said. In the ARMM, the figure is more than twice, at 47 families out of 100.

In Lanao del Sur, the figure is thrice the national average, at 69 out of 100 families and Maguindanao at 58 out of 100 families.

In 2006 and 2009, Caraga was the poorest region followed  by ARMM. In 2012, Caraga’s poverty incidence went down, making it land on the sixth place (see other story).

But it isn’t all bad news in the ARMM. Poverty incidence in the three island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi went down significantly from the last survey in 2009, then still under the Arroyo administration (January 2001 to June 30, 2010) to the 2012 survey already under the Aquino administration (June 30, 2010 onwards).
Tawi-tawi posted the most dramatic drop at 27.5% from 48.3 in 2009 to 20.8 in 2012.

Based  on NSCB records,  Tawi-tawi was fourth poorest in 2006, fifth poorest in 2009 and in 2012, 56th  of 79 provinces nationwide.

Overall, Tawi-tawi has the lowest poverty incidence among the 26 provinces in Mindanao.

Up, Drop

Maguindanao ranked second poorest in Mindanao and fourth nationwide in the NSCB’s “First Semester Per Capita Poverty Threshold and Poverty Incidence among Families, by Region and Province: 2006, 2009 and 2012” but registered the highest increase in poverty incidence at 20.2 %, from 37.6 in 2009 to 57.8 in 2012.

Lanao del Sur’s poverty incidence rose by 17.5%, from 51.4 in 2009 to 68.9 in 2012.

Tawi-tawi’s poverty incidence dropped by 27.5%  from 48.3 in 2009 to 20.8 in 2012;  Sulu’s dropped 7.6%  from 37.9 in 2009 to 30.3 in 2012; and Basilan’s dropped 4.9% from 37.4  in 2009 to 32.5.

In 2006, Tawi-tawi’s poverty incidence was 50.6%, Sulu’s was 42.9% and Basilan’s was 31.2%. In mainland Mindanao, Lanao del Sur’s poverty incidence in 2006 was 38.1% while Maguindanao’s was 47.7%.

In six years, 2006 to 2012, Tawi-tawi’s poverty incidence dropped by as much as 29.8%; Sulu’s by 12.6% while Lanao del Sur’s poverty incidence rose by as much as 30.8% within the same period.

In three years, 2009 to 2012, Maguindanao’s poverty incidence rose by as much as 20.2%.

Maguindanao has been under the administration of  Governor Esmael Mangudadatu since June 30, 2010.

Maguindanao was under the control of the Ampatuan clan from 2001 until the worst pre-election violence – the massacre of 58 persons, 32 of them from the media, in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao – happened on November 23, 2009.

Two OIC governors served the province in succession from December 2009 until June 30, 2010 when Mangudadatu took over as elected governor.

The ARMM was also ruled by an Ampatuan from 2005 until the 2009 massacre. ARMM Governor Zaldy Ampatuan was then serving his second term.

In December 2009, ARMM Vice Governor Ansaruddin Adiong Alonto took over the post vacated by the detained governor.  Adiong was replaced on December 22, 2011 by OIC Governor Mujiv Hataman.


The poverty incidence of Dinagat Islands province, the 80th province in the country and 26th in Mindanao, is not available in the NSCB report. It is likely incorporated with Surigao del Norte. To recall, Dinagat was part of  Surigao del Norte until its creation as a province through RA 9355 in 2006. The Supreme Court, however, declared its creation null and void on February 11, 2010 for failing to meet land area and population requirements. Dinagat reverted to Surigao del Norte . On March 30, 2011,  the Supreme Court reversed its ruling and upheld the constitutionality of RA 9355.

Based on the NSCB statistics, five of the ten poorest provinces in 2012 are from Mindanao. The ten poorest are:
1. Lanao del Sur (68.9 %  poverty incidence)
2. Apayao (59.8%)
3. Eastern Samar (59.4%)
4. Maguindanao (57.8%)
5. Zamboanga del Norte (50.3%)
6. Davao Oriental (48%)
7. Ifugao (47.5%)
8, Sarangani (46.5%)
9. Negros Oriental (45.3%) and
10. Masbate (44.2%).

By region, the ten poorest in 2012 are:
1. ARMM (46.9% poverty incidence)
2. Region 12/Southwestern Mindanao, also known as Soccsksargen (37.5%)
3. Region 8/Eastern Visayas (37.2%)
4. Region 9/Western Mindanao/Zamboanga Region (36.9%)
5. Region 10/Northern Mindanao (35.6%)
6. Caraga and Region 5/Bicol (34.1%)
7. Region 7/Central Visayas (28.8%)
8. Region 11/Southeastern Mindanao/Davao Region (28.6%)
9. Region 4-B/Mimaropa (28.4%)
10. Region/Western Visayas (24.7%)


Why up, why down?

The NSCB report does not provide explanations on the factors that caused the rise and fall in poverty incidence in a particular region or province.

MindaNews sought the five governors in the ARMM and OIC ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman for comment on the NSCB statistical data. Hataman, Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong, Jr.,  Basilan Governor Jum Akbar and Tawi-tawi Governor Sadikul Sahali had not replied as  of 5 p.m. Friday.

Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu earlier said he would call to respond to MindaNews’ query on why the poverty incidence in Maguindanao rose by 20.2% under his administration. He hasn’t sent his reply despite follow-up.

Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan said the 7.6%  drop in poverty incidence from 2009 to 2012 “can be attributed to the implementation of support infra program such as farm to market roads, ports and markets, least of corrupt practices and very much improved peace and order situation. In short, good governance.”

Tan, who is completing his second term as governor and is running for Vice Governor in the May 13 polls, told MindaNews, “we want to leave the house in order as I start to exit from politics.”

Tan’s son, Abdusakur II, is running for governor.  (Carolyn  O. Arguillas/MindaNews)