• Poverty alleviation tops ARMM priority

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    SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: Regional Gov.Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) underscored that poverty alleviation is his administration’s top priority this year as he cited that poverty incidence in the region eased in 2015.

    Hataman also said P4-billion has been earmarked this year for various programs and projects aimed at eliminating hunger and malnutrition in the region.

    The latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show poverty incidence in the ARMM in 2015 was at 53.7 percent, or 2.1 percentage points lower than the 55.8 percent recorded in 2012.

    Lawyer Laisa Alamia, ARMM executive secretary, said the region’s target is to reduce the poverty incidence rate to 30 percent in three years.

    “Our target is to improve the living conditions of our households to reduce poverty,” Alamia said.

    Lisa Grace Bersales, PSA’s civil registrar general, said there is a gradual decline in poverty incidence in the region but the figure is lower than what was expected by the ARMM government.

    Subsistence incidence in the region was estimated at 21.1 percent. In 2012, it was recorded at 25.1 percent an improvement of four percentage points. Subsistence incidence among Filipinos refers to as the proportion of Filipinos in extreme or subsistence poverty.

    The PSA also releases statistics on poverty among families – a crucial social indicator that guides policy makers in efforts to alleviate poverty. Based on the first and second survey visits in 2015 in ARMM, poverty among families was estimated at 48.2 percent from 49.7 percent in 2012.

    “Poverty statistics is the most controversial because poverty is a multi-dimensional, very complex situation, and our official poverty statistics, for now, focuses on only one dimension, which is income,” Bersales said.

    The PSA report provides estimates of poverty incidence using income data from the first and second visits under the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) conducted in July 2015 and January 2016.

    The province of Tawi-Tawi recorded the lowest poverty incidence in the survey among 26 provinces in Mindanao posting 12.6 percent while Lanao del Sur has the highest at 71.9 percent.

    JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL

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