by Amelita M. Pangilinan, DOH

CAR has three of poorest provinces in country

The dismal showing of a number of provinces in CAR in terms of social development – Mt. Province ranked 8;h of top 10 poorest provinces in the country in 2003. and Apayao and Abra ranking 4″ and 9″‘, respectively in 2006 – prompted the Cordillera Regional Development Council (CRDC) to push with renewed vigor for regional autonomy.

To top it off the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported that the poverty situation worsened from 2003 to 2006, as a whole in the region.

Poverty mapping

The Regional Social Development Committee (RSDC) led by Dr. Myrna C. Cabotaje, recognizing the imperative need to reduce poverty in the region and the need for smaller area poverty statistics, agreed to implement a project called “Preparation and Advocacy of Poverty Maps: Towards Poverty Alleviation in the Cordillera Region”.

The project specifically aims to: a) prepare poverty maps for selected CAR LGUs; b) promote the use of poverty mapping in planning, packaging, and implementing poverty  alleviation programs/projects: and c) serve as a pilot project for possible

replication by other CAR LGUs.

Poverty mapping is an important tool  for locating the poor and to visually depict their relative conditions. It helps in determining the position and distribution patterns and correlates of poverty of LGUs.   Using Geographical Information System software, poverty indicators will be plotted on maps. These thematic maps will serve as useful tools to LGUs as well as local chief executives and other development ‘    planners in the identification of priority areas for the implementation of poverty-alleviation programs. It also helps in the identification/ designing of poverty programs.

With the initial fund of P1 million, three LGUs have been identified as beneficiaries: Kapangan and Kibungan of Benguet, and Natonin of Mountain Province. Each municipality  will be assessed in terms of how far the respective LGUs have gone in poverty mapping. The technical working group will then determine how the project can build on these accomplishments consistent with the project framework and objectives. If poverty mapping has already been conducted in any of these municipalities, other municipalities will be considered and selected.

In the last quarter of 2008, a RSDC-Technical Working Group prepared an inception report and formulated and finalized a work and financial plan as a framework for the project. And before the year ended, the poverty map framework preparation was completed. This consisted of the conduct of an inventory and assessment of frameworks used in poverty mapping projects conducted in the region and identification of indicators to be used in poverty mapping. With all these groundwork accomplished, the NSCB as lead agency is now set to present the Framework to the RSDC Secom for approval on its first meeting in 2009. It also set the tone for next project component which will involve the gathering of indicators to be used in assessing data availability, collecting/ gathering/ reconciliation and validation of indicators, and data analysis.

The project is expected to bring together efforts of RSDC agencies and targeted LGUs and to enhance the region’s capability to undertake devolved functions, thereby strengthening the region’s resolve for renewed pursuit of development and autonomy.