13 of 20 poorest towns in Cordillera found in Abra

MUNICIPALITIES in Abra dominated the bottom 20 municipalities in the region based on poverty incidence monitoring by the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NCSB). NSCB regional director Benjie Navarro told reporters Tuesday the town of Bucloc posted the highest poverty incidence in the region as 77.2 percent of residents there consider themselves poor based on their 2009 survey. Other Abra towns in the bottom list are Lacub (67.2 percent), Sallapadan (62 percent), Tubo (56.4 percent), Malibcong (55.6 percent), Boliney (50.6 percent), Villaviciosa (49.1 percent), Licuan-Baay (46.7 percent), Langiden (46.0 percent), Tineg (43.2 percent), Pilar (42.8 percent), San Isidro (42.3 percent) and Lagayan (41.4 percent). Four towns in Benguet, including Kabayan, Bakun, and Buguias also posted 58.6 percent, 53.7 percent, 42 percent poverty incidence with Kibungan town ranking second in the bottom list with 67.9 percent poverty incidence. Two municipalities in the bottom list were able to consistently improve their rankings by lowering their poverty incidence in the past years. These are former poorest Cordillera town Tineg in Abra from 79.4 percent poverty incidence in 2000 to 43.2 percent in 2009 or a 25.7 percent decrease and Paracelis in Mt. Province from 70.3 percent poverty incidence in 2000 to 46.7 percent in 2009. Other poor towns in the region are Tinoc (49.6 percent) and Asipulo in Ifugao (47.5 percent). Seven municipalities have seen their rankings in the bottom list drop further with Sallapadan, Abra from rank 23 in 2000 to rank 74 in 2009. Eleven of the poorest 20 towns showed increases in their poverty incidence while 9 of these poorest towns have more than half of their population considered poor. Meanwhile, as many towns in Abra remain poor, the Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan,Tuba and Tublay (BLISTT) areas still have the lowest poverty incidence with 5 out of 6 towns in BLISTT posting low poverty incidence. The top ten least poor local governments in the region are Baguio city (1st) and its adjacent municipalities, La Trinidad (2nd), Itogon (3rd), Tuba (4th) and Sablan (10th) based on the Small Area Estimates of poverty according to the NSCB. Other towns in the Top 20 least poor towns are Mankayan, Bontoc, Bangued, Tabuk city, Lamut, Sablan, Lagawe, Banaue, Bokod, Kiangan, Tayum, Sta. Marcela, Lubuagan, Hingyon, Rizal and Pidigan. The least poor residents in the Cordillera have consistently been found in Baguio and La Trinidad posting some 2.4 percent and 5.4 percent poverty incidence. Other municipalities in the top 20 least poor towns continue to improve in their rankings that include Tuba, Bontoc, Lamut, Lagawe, Banaue and Kiangan. The ranking of five municipalities have slid since 2000 these are Bangued, Sta. Marcela, HIngyon and Pidigan. (JM Agreda)