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Bohol is 34th richest province in the Philippines
« on: June 19, 2007, 07:44:32 AM »
By Jes Tirol

Proem

Based on the 2003 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) of the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) the richest among the 86 provinces in the Philippines is the province of Rizal. The province of Bohol is ranked number 34.

What we mean by richest province is the least incidence of poverty among the families living in a particular province. Rizal province with 3.4% incidence of poverty is ranked number one. Bohol with 29.2% of the families living below the poverty line is ranked number 34.

This means that among 100 families in Bohol, 29 families are classified as poor. I don’t know whether the Boholanos will be proud of this record. In my case I am not proud of it.

In Central Visayas

In the Central Visayas Region, the province of Cebu is ranked number 18 in the whole Philippines. Bohol is 34th, Siquijor is 37th, and Negros Oriental is 58th with a poverty incidence of 37.1 families in 100.

In Bohol

According to the NSCB report, the threshold poverty income per day in Bohol is P27.48 per person. If we consider five members per family, the family needs to earn more than P4,122 per month in order not to be considered poor. This is the level in year 2003. At 7.5% annual inflation rate, a Boholano family of five members needs to earn in year 2006 a monthly income of P5,120.75 to have the same purchasing power compared to year 2003.

Cultural Context

The culture of the Boholanos measures poverty in terms of satisfaction rather than monetary income. The standard saying in Bohol is “Pobre nga hamugáway (Poor but comfortable).” The Boholanos have a deep religious inclination. They take to heart the Biblical injunction, “It is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

If the census takers did not consider these cultural factors, I am sure the result will be off the mark. Majority of the Boholanos will claim that they are poor. Just hear our politicians speak. All of them will claim that they are poor. If all the politicians will be the respondents of the survey, then Bohol will be 100% poor.

How Accurate?

I do not question the accuracy of the results of the NSCB. The result of the survey will depend upon the procedures and methodologies used. If 94% of the families in Bohol owns or has owner-like possession of the house they lived in, do you think 29.2% of these families are poor?

Knowing the culture and the social behavior of the Boholanos, I do not use the direct question and answer method when making surveys regarding poverty. I know they will answer that they are poor even if they have a car and a house.

My usual procedure is the “Latent Survey.” I ask about their properties such as land, house, car, TV, refrigerator, where their children go to school, etc. I never ask them whether they are rich or poor because they will always answer that they are poor. Even the type of toilet in the house is not an indicator. Many houses of rich people in the towns have no flush toilets for the simple reason that pipe-in water is not available.

I do not also trust the answer for monthly income because many Boholanos consider only salaries as monthly income. They will never include the income from the farm, business, trades, and the like.

If the NSCB ranks Bohol as the 34th richest province in terms of family income, then you will be confident that it is actually higher than that. You just observe how fiestas are celebrated in Bohol.(The Bohol Chronicle,6/25/2006)

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Awards and Achievements of the Province of Bohol

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