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Davao City, Philippines

Anti-poverty body to lift 3M Mindanaoans out of poverty

January 12, 2019 - Saturday 12:01 PM by Ayan Mellejor

BIG GOAL. The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) targets to lift at least three million poor Mindanaoans out of poverty by 2023. ARJOY M. CENIZA

DAVAO CITY – The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) will roll out a five-year development program targeting to lift at least three million poor Mindanaoans out of poverty by 2023.

NAPC Secretary Noel Felongco said the five-year program will be rolled out in 20 poor areas in Mindanao, among them Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, Sarangani, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga del Sur, and Sulu.

In a press conference on Friday at the Apo View Hotel in this city, Felongco said NAPC is targeting Mindanao because it has the highest poverty incidence rate at 40 percent and has the most number of poorest areas in the country.

Felongco said Mindanao has long been neglected and its budget share is only about 4.5 percent despite its 15 percent contribution to the country’s Growth Domestic Product. This is also despite the island’s 40 percent contribution of agricultural production.

Felongco said the high poverty incidence is also attributed to corruption, with government funds going to the pockets of program and project implementers instead of to the general welfare of the people.

He said other factors for the high poverty incidence are long-standing social injustice, poor local governance in some areas, the communist insurgency, and conflict in the Bangsamoro.

Felongco is, however, hopeful these problems will be addressed.

Two core programs were presented during the 2018 Assessment and 2019 Strategic Planning for Mindanao Operations: the Sambayanihan, Serbisyong Sambayanan (SSS) and the Actionable Development Agenda for Poverty Transformation” or ADAPT 40/10/10.

SSS targets to harmonize NAPC’s efforts in addressing the 10 basic needs of the people and aims to reduce poverty incidence.

It will ensure that the Urban Poor sector will be given access to basic services and climate-resilient dwelling, and livelihood and employment and pave way to the development and deployment of innovative infrastructure and financing mechanisms to the rural poor; strengthening rural and urban agro-economic value chains; securing the health and general well-being of poor communities; enhancing food security and the Mindanao Special Development Program.

ADAPT 40/10/10, for its part aims to help poor communities across the country adapt to the effects of climate change, which NAPC considers as a game-changer and has forever altered the natural and social environment of the country, including the 10 basic needs.

Felongco said 40/10/10 denotes a list of 40 provinces, 10 municipalities per province, and 10 barangays per municipality determined as the poorest in terms of poverty incidence and magnitude.

During the first year of the program in 2019, NAPC together with government implementing agencies will roll out in first 20 poorest areas. In the second year (2020), NAPC hopes to lift 500,000 families; one million on 2021; 1.5 million in 2022; and, 3 million in 2023.

“The number could be less but we will work for more,” said Fernando Cao, the head of the NAPC research team.

Cao said the goal of lifting the lives of 3 million families by 2023 will serve as the guide of NAPC.

Cao said the programs are characterized as proactive engagement to make sure results will trickle down to the communities.

Felongco, however, stressed that the targets can be achieved if all stakeholders will cooperate and support the program.

“We are not here because we want to earn a living. We are here as part of NAPC because of a mission and vocation. This is my personal conviction. This is my way of contributing to uplift the situation of the poor not only here in Mindanao but also to the whole country. This is our calling. We should all participate, regardless of our political inclinations,” he said in his speech during the assessment at Apo View on Thursday.