By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CTIY — Local government officials of Apayao and Ifugao questioned the basis of the poverty incidence statistics recently released by the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NSCB) that placed their provinces as second and seventh poorest provinces in the country.
Apayao Provincial Administrator Tallatag and Ifugao Governor Denis Habawel in a separate interviews pointed out some problems with the NSCB’s measurements of the poverty incidence.
Tallatag said there is a problem in NSCB’s basis for measuring poverty incidence because it is not applicable to Apayao’s current situation. He added that the NSCB’s poverty indicators are very urban based.
“The basis of their poverty measure is suitable for the NCR (National Capital Region) but the situation in Apayao is very different from the NCR,” he stressed.
Tallatag disclosed that provincial and municipal development councils of Apayao together with representatives from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), NSCB and Department of Agriculture (DA) already met to address the poverty incidence.
He shared that the meeting aimed to clarify the basis of the poverty incidence survey and identify the problem areas to facilitate the planning of the provincial and municipal development councils.
According to Tallatag, Apayao recorded a high poverty incidence rate because a large number of its population earn lower than the declared poverty threshold.
NSCB data showed that the poverty threshold for Apayao is P9,336 per month for a family of five. The same data showed that the province’s poverty incidence in 59.8% for the first quarter of 2012.
Tallatag explained that people of Apayao may earn lower than the poverty threshold but they are not hungry. He added that most of the Apayao folk are farmers who produce their own food. “We are self sustaining,” he stressed.
He added that the province also has education and health services in place. He disclosed that all the seven municipalities have their own hospitals and schools.
Habawel on the other hand said the poverty incidence that translates to three out of ten Ifugaos have difficulty acquiring basic food requirements seem to contradict the very good nutrition rating of the province. He agreed that there is something wrong with the way poverty incidence was measured.
He highlighted that Ifugao is awarded for having a very low malnutrition incidence.
Earlier reports showed that Ifugao bagged the Crown award in 2010 in the Cordillera Administrative Region for its nutrition action plan to curb malnutrition for three consecutive years.
“How come many are poor but very few are malnourished? It is either we are overstating our nutrition or our poverty status. The figures do not add up,” he stressed.
Habawel said the provincial government will strengthen existing poverty reduction programs and projects like the conditional cash transfer or Panatawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
NSCB reports explained that poverty incidence is the proportion of people below the poverty line to the total population. # nordis.net