The latest info-statistic release by the National Statistics Coordination Board should not surprise us at all. With a poverty incidence of 34.1 percent during the first six months of 2012, Bicol is the seventh poorest region in the Philippines, based on the latest study of the agency which is releasing poverty estimates by semester in view of the urgent need for more timely statistics.
Poverty incidence of families in Bicol went down from 36.5 percent in 2009 to 34.1 percent in 2012, although the decrease cannot be considered statistically significant. Among the 17 regions in the country, only two regions posted statistically significant decreases in poverty incidence: Caraga – between the 1st semesters of 2009 and 2012, and Region I – between 2006 and 2009. In terms of poverty incidence among the population, there were around 43 poor for every 100 Bicolanos during the 1st semester of 2012, or about 2 poor persons less than the previous number in 2009.
Food poor or extremely poor families consistently dropped from 16.5 percent in 1st semester 2009 to 14.1 percent in 1st semester 2012. Similarly, food poor population posted consistent declines from the first semester of 2006 to the first semester of 2012.
Among provinces, poverty incidence of families and population went down except in Albay and Catanduanes. Albay consistently posted increases in poverty incidence from 2006 to 2012. The increase or decrease in the incidences however, were all statistically insignificant. While Masbate was one of the provinces that posted a decrease in its poverty incidence, it was consistently included in the bottom cluster of provinces in the 1st semesters of 2006 and 2009 and 2012. Masbate and Albay were the only two provinces whose poverty incidences were higher than the regional poverty incidence in the first semester of 2012. Food poor population and families in the provinces likewise posted decreases except in Catanduanes.
Per capita poverty threshold during the first semester of 2012 stood at P9,022, the fifth lowest among regions in the country. (Region III had the highest at P10,121.) The amount of P9,022 also means that a family with five members would need P45,109.50 during the first semester of 2012 or P7,518.25 monthly to provide for the basic needs.