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WHO and WHERE THE POOR ARE?

Poverty remains the most crucial social problem that needs to be dealt with in the Philippines. What is precisely the nature of this dilemma? Being the 12th  most populated country in the world, the major cause of this is the rapid population growth which resulted to high unemployment rate.

Over the years, poverty rate stays constant because of its limitation to create jobs while increasingly its demand.

Addressing widespread poverty is the country’s great challenge especially its reduction. Augmenting this scenario, the Department of Social Welfare and Development came up with poverty alleviation programs known as DSWD’s Convergence Network also referred as Tatsulo.

In the line is Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan- Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) wherein it empowers communities, strengthen local governance and speed up development in the barangays. Next is Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program also known as 4P’s is a human development program that invests in the health and education of poor households, particularly of children aged 0-14 years old. It uses conditional giving of cash grants based on compliance to certain conditionality’s whereas Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) is a multi-stakeholder program that aims to improve the socio-economic status of its participants. It does this through a community-based capacity building program that enjoins the community participants from the planning until the implementation and monitoring phases.

A targeting system was formulated to set up a unified criterion in the selection of the poorest population. This gave birth to DSWD’s National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR). It is an information management system that identifies who and where the poor are.

The system makes database of poor households as reference in identifying potential beneficiaries of social protection programs. It aims to establish an objective targeting system and reduce the leakage of social services to non-poor and minimize exclusion of the poor.

HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS?

NHTS-PR looks into the poverty incidence of provinces/municipalities/cities for the purpose of prioritizing the areas to assess. This also determined the method of assessment to implement. There are two methods being used, Saturation or complete enumeration for municipalities with 50% and above poverty incidence and Pockets of poverty which applies to municipalities/cities with 49% below poverty incidence. It is a segment or portion of the community where clusters of poor usually reside.

After identifying which process best fit in the area, household assessment is the next step wherein it is conducted by enumerators using the household assessment form (HAF), a two page questionnaire with 34 variables.

All the information gathered in HAF is then encoded to a web application and subjected to Proxy Means Test. Proxy Means Test (PMT) is a statistical model that estimates the income of households using the proxy variables indicated in HAF. These include family composition, education of household members, housing conditions and access to basic services.

NHTS –PR also implements On-Demand Application (ODA)– a process of ensuring complete coverage of poor households and Validation-a process that assesses accuracy of the list of poor and non-poor households with the community to ensure that all qualified will be included in the database. Local Government Units (LGU’) performs key role during these processes.

UTILIZATION OF DATABASE

The assessments were completed last December 2009. The NHTS-PR was able to assess and subject to Proxy Means Test (PMT) 10,909,456 households in the 17 regions, 80 provinces, and 137 cities and 1,493 municipalities nationwide. Of these, 5,255,118 were identified as poor.

In Bicol region, a total of 775,014 households were assessed and subjected to PMT in the six (6) provinces, seven (7) cities and 107 municipalities regionwide. Of these, 461,242 were identified as poor.

Data from NHTS-PR Field Office V is currently being used by DSWD for its Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program(4P’s) and other stakeholders  such as Philhealth RO V, Department of Health (DOH)RO V, Intervida Philippines, Department of Agriculture, National Nutrition Council (NNC), Department of Agrarian Reform and  71 LGU’s in Region V.

Time is a thief for NHTS-PR, after commencing last 2009, the group will be updating its database in 2014.The team is advocating for full cooperation of the communities for the re-assessment to ensure all poor households will be included in the database.###crbarrameda

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