Four Cordi provinces, food-poor


BAGUIO CITY — Four out of six Cordillera provinces are among the country’s poorest with three towns in two other provinces belonging to the poorest 100 towns in the Philippines.

The National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) lists Apayao as the 4th and Abra the 9th among the poorest provinces in the country. Kalinga and Ifugao are 11th and 16th, respectively.

Apayao had the highest poverty incidence in Cordillera with 57.5 percent, followed by Abra at 50.1 percent and Ifugao at 30.9 percent.

Kibungan in Benguet; and Ifugao’s Asipulo, Mayoyao and two more towns are among the poorest towns.

Mountain Province was taken out of the list of poorest provinces in 2006. It is in the 2003 listing.

Poverty, hunger and malnutrition

These provinces are food poor, according to Dr. Micaela Defiesta of the Cordillera Nutrition Council. Being food poor may result in hunger. “Under-nutrition is a consequence of prolonged hunger,” she added.

Defiesta said, the ordinary Cordilleran may not be hungry but if the food intake is largely cereal-based, nutrition may suffer. “It is not the quantity of food intake but the quality and balance of nutrients in the food that counts,” she told the media during the Kapihan with Cordillera Regional Executives (CARE) Wednesday.

Health Regional Director Myrna Cabotaje said more people spend on food rather than medicines,

The annual average family income in the region in 2003 is P157,045, higher than the country’s P148,617. The country’s annual average family expenditure of 124,377 in the same year is higher than Cordillera’s P122,882.

Cordillera’s poverty threshold is at P16,810 per person per year, higher than the country’s annual per capita poverty threshold of P15,057 in 2006.

The country’s annual food threshold is P50,125, while the poverty threshold is P75,285. In 2006.

Government statistics show that around 42,000 are poor in Abra, 7,000 in Kalinga; 6,000 in Mountain Province and around 4,000 in Apayao.

“These are agricultural areas where farmers could grow anything and yet they are still considered food poor,” said Defiesta.

Improved

NSCB statistics showed the poverty situation in Benguet, Mt. Province and Kalinga improved with the decline in poverty incidence of families and population in 2006.

Benguet showed a decline of 2.8 percent and a drop by 18.4 percent in the number of poor families between 2003 and 2006. It is among the 5th least poor provinces with poverty incidence of 8.2 in 2006.

The Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations is set to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. It seeks to reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a (US) dollar a day and those who suffer from hunger, as well. # Lyn V. Ramo(NorDis)

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