Poverty survey in R-12 deferred in favor of rehab efforts

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/18 Dec.) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has deferred until early next year the launching of the second nationwide assessment of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) due to the continuing relief and rehabilitation activities in calamity-hit areas in the Visayas region.

Gemma Rivera, DSWD-Region 12 assistant director, said Wednesday their central office has not yet released a new schedule for the poverty assessment or survey, which was planned to begin last month in the area.

“The schedule is still being arranged but it will not likely start until early next year as our operations are still concentrated on the relief activities for victims of super typhoon Yolanda and other recent calamities,” she told MindaNews.

The official said the region’s assessment team decided to just continue with their preparatory activities pending the finalization of the assessment’s launching.

In Region 12, the agency is targeting to assess the socio-economic status of 775,335 households for the second round of the NHTS-PR, which adopted the official brand name “Listahanan” and tagline “Talaan ng Pamilyang Nangangailangan.”

Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Rivera said all provinces, municipalities and cities in the region will be covered by the assessment.
She said they are specifically targeting to “visit and interview” a total of 245,055 households in North Cotabato; 212,590 in South Cotabato; 146,777 in Sultan Kudarat; 93,178 in Sarangani; and, 77,736 in Cotabato City.

It will cover a total of 1,194 barangays, 168 of which are classified as urban and 1,026 rural barangays.

Bai Zorahayda Taha, DSWD-Region 12 director, said the assessment is mainly aimed to update the agency’s poverty database, which will be used in the identification of beneficiaries for its social protection programs and services.

NHTS-PR is an information management system that identifies who and where the poor households are, a program briefer said.

It said its system guarantees the establishment and management of a national socio-economic database of poor households using a globally-accepted methodology.

The NHTS-PR database was the sole basis for the selection of beneficiaries of the national government’s anti-poverty programs, among them the continuing Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or the conditional cash transfer initiative and the social pension for poor senior citizens as well as other marginalized and vulnerable sectors.

During the launching of the NHTS-PR in 2009, DSWD-12 assessed a total of 581,853 households in the entire region.

The assessment results showed that some 296,043 households in the area were considered as poor and eventually targeted for various social services of the national government.

For the second NHTS-PR survey, DSWD-12 is targeting to assess a total of 193,482 poor households in the region.

The DSWD central office aims to assess around 15 million households in the country through the initiative. (MindaNews)