Region 1 better off than other regions, says KALAHI chair
By Venus H. Sarmiento
Dagupan City (4 February) -- Region 1 is better-off than other regions in terms of poverty reduction, according to a presidential assistant.
Dr. Enrie Mendoza, presidential assistant for North Luzon and chair of the regional KALAHI convergence group, said poverty studies and household surveys indicate that only 30-33 percent of households in the entire region belong to the poverty level.
"Comparatively speaking, our poverty level indication is not so high unlike in other regions. That is why we are not included in the Top 10 list of poverty stricken areas. We are better-off," Mendoza said during the regional KALAHi Karaban program held in Urbiztondo town today.
Mendoza admitted, however, that even in better-off regions, there are existing warm bodies who are affected with poverty, which is the reason why the government reaches out to them.
The KALAHI Karaban, which stands for 'Kapit- bisig Labansa Kahirapan,' has been continuously done since 2001 to support President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's programs to fight and reduce poverty in the countryside. It is being conducted to implement the provisions of the Social Agenda Law or Republic Act 8425, Mendoza said.
"The term Kalahi is generic but every province has a localized term for it. In Pangasinan, it is 'GATE to Progress,' Rang-Ay ti Barangay in La Union, KABSAT in Ilocos Sur and 'Makakatulong sa Mamamayan' in Ilocos Norte. These are being manned by Provincial Poverty Reduction Officers," he said.
Mendoza said the regional convergence group coordinates with the provincial level to continuously identify priority KALAHI areas. Such surveys being conducted are the National Household survey of DSWD, the National Statistics Coordinating Board and the minimum basic needs survey to identify who and where the poor are and bring government programs to them.
"The Kalahi caravan was introduced as a mandate of the President to let regional and provincial officers go where the poor are. It's like decentralizing or localizing the action," Mendoza said.
The caravans provide trainings, livelihood skills, jobs, medical and dental services and funds for home businesses. It has local poverty reduction action teams in every municipalities. (PIA-Pangasinan) [top]