323,000 households recorded poor in CL

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO– Some 322,622 households in Central Luzon are considered poor, results from the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) show. Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) regional information officer Evelyn Manalo disclosed “the Central Luzon figure make up 6.13 percent of the more than five million identified indigent households nationwide.”

Manalo added that “a household is defined as a social unit consisting of a person or a group of persons who sleep in the same housing unit and have a common arrangement in the preparation and consumption of food.”

Nueva Ecija posted the highest number of poverty-stricken homes in Central Luzon with 96,863 followed by Bulacan with 73,683; Pampanga–55,328; Tarlac–46,956; Zambales–23,804; Bataan–16,655 and Aurora–9,333.

About 52.89 percent of the recorded poor households in the region live in rural areas while 47.11 percent live in urban areas.

In terms of education, 26.22 percent of the identified school age poor household members are not attending school. Non-school attendance rate in school age brackets are: 9.22 percent for 3-5 years old, 21.37 percent for 6-12 years old, 21.12 percent for 13-16 years old, and 61.43 percent for 17-24 years old.

In terms of livelihood, 57 percent of the enlisted poor household members aged 15 years old and above are unemployed while 26.07 percent are laborers and unskilled workers.

Also, 4.5 percent of the identified indigent homes belong to Indigenous Peoples with Zambales garnering the highest number at 5,708 while 3.6 percent of these homes have household members aged 60 years old and above with Nueva Ecija posting the most at 18,690.

Manalo explained that the “NHTS-PR is an information management system that identifies who and where the poor are in the country. It uses the Proxy Means Test (PMT) in the selection of beneficiaries for social welfare programs and services.”

The PMT is a statistical model that estimates household income using proxy variables included in the household assessment form (HAF).
Some of the variables used in the PMT are family composition, education of household members, housing conditions and access to basic services.

These variables were sourced out from the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) and Labor Force Survey (LFS) of the National Statistics Office.

A household whose economic condition falls on or below the poverty line would qualify for the specific programs and services of DSWD such as the Pantawid Pamilya, Self Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K), Social Pension and Cash for work.

Pantawid Pamilya provides cash grants of P1,400 per month during school months (June-March) and P500 per month during non-school months (April-May) to household beneficiaries as long as they comply with certain conditions like the regular visit of children in health centers to avail immunization and maintenance of a class attendance rate of at least 85 percent per month for those who are enrolled in day care centers or schools.

SEA-K, on the other hand, is a capability building program that seeks to enhance the skills of poor families through the organization of community-based associations for entrepreneurial development.

SEA-K group projects range from food processing (tocino, longganisa) to bag making.

The Social Pension program provides a monthly stipend of P500 to indigent Senior Citizens aged 77 years old and above who are not receiving any pension, without any permanent source of income and have no regular support from relatives while Cash for Work recipients work on identified community projects for 11 days which earn them P3,146 or P286 per day.

Among the projects beneficiaries work on include river dredging and embankment, repair of small scale irrigation and tree planting and other reforestation activities. ● (PIA 3)



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