Poverty reduction body for BARMM proposed

By Rhoda Grace Saron

July 24 2019, 8:29 pm Updated on November 29, 2023, 7:32 am

DAVAO CITY--The government agency against poverty has formally asked the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to create a commission that is dedicated to reducing the poverty incidence in the region.

“It can be called a Commission on Poverty Reduction,” said Secretary Noel K. Felongco of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) on Tuesday.

BARMM has the highest incidence of poverty in the Philippines at 53 percent, Felongco noted. The figure is higher than the average national poverty incidence, pegged at 21.6 percent.

Felongco said the Duterte administration seeks to reduce the country's poverty incidence to 14 percent by 2022.

On Monday, Felongco said he formally handed over to BARMM interim chief minister Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim a proposal for the creation of such body.

Felongco said a regional poverty reduction commission will enforce NAPC’s mandate of coordinating government and private sector efforts in the implementation of poverty alleviation programs.

The body will also coordinate with local government units in the formulation of social reform and poverty alleviation programs, and recommend policy and other measures to ensure the implementation of the government’s social reform agenda.

Compounding BARMM's high poverty incidence is an inflation rate of 2.9 percent, the second highest in Mindanao, as well as lack of access to potable water, affecting 48.6 percent of its population. NAPC records show that only 69 percent of the region's population own a house.

In terms of employment, almost 95 percent are employed in the BARMM but at least 40 percent of the population suffer from displacement due to problems on peace and order at least once a year.

Felongco said once the commission has been put in place, an inter-government mechanism will be established between NAPC and BARMM to coordinate convergence of poverty-alleviation efforts.

In Mindanao, Felongco said the NAPC will coordinate and strengthen efforts towards peacebuilding, sustainable agriculture and fisheries, climate change, Ka-Sambayanihan, and convergence. (PNA)