ZAMBOANGA del Norte remains the poorest province in the country, an official of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said.
DSWD Regional Director Teodulo Romo, who reported in the recently held 138th Regional Development Council meeting in Dipolog City, said more than 65 percent of the households in Zamboanga del Norte are poor.
Zamboanga del Norte, which comprises two cities and 25 towns, has a population of 823,130 based on the 2000 population survey conducted by the National Statistics Office.
Years back, a study by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) found the province of Zamboanga del Norte to be the Philippines’s poorest province with a poverty incidence rate of 64.6 percent in 2003, an increase from 47 percent in year 2000 statistical figure.
Romo said among the 25 towns, the municipality of Siayan registered the highest percentage of poor families at 88.7 percent.
Siayan is followed by Sibuco, 87.6 percent; Sirawai, 84.4 percent; Godod, 81.3 percent; and Gutalac, 78.5 percent.
The municipality of Siayan was also listed as the poorest town in the country in the 2003 survey of the NSCB.
Romo said the National Government agencies, through the DSWD, is initiating a number of poverty alleviation intervention programs aimed to uplift the economic conditions of the people in the province.
This includes the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, KAPIT-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, and Self-Employment Assistance-Kabuhayan, Romo said. (Bong Garcia)