Cotabato City (15 June 2015) – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) strengthens its anti-poverty drive as it embarked on an inter-agency initiative that would “significantly and sustainably reduce poverty incidence among its population.”Early this year, ARMM launched the national government’s Accelerated and Sustainable Anti-Poverty Program (ASAPP), an inter-agency effort “that seeks to reduce poverty by creating sustainable employment and income-generating opportunities for the poor,” said Janice Musali, the region’s Fisheries and Aquatic Resources director and ASAPP lead convenor for the ARMM.
Sulu, a component province of ARMM, has one of the highest number of poverty-stricken residents identified under ASAPP. The province has 122,218 identified as poor out of its 718,290 total population, as of the 2010 census.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said the high poverty rate in the region continues to be a challenge to the regional government, but ASAPP will “help more Filipinos break away from the poverty threshold.”
“We are optimistic that this will be addressed more effectively with the introduction of ASAPP, the efforts of the Provincial Government of Sulu, and the convergence of livelihood and development programs of the working ARMM government,” Gov. Hataman said.
“ASAPP is a poverty reduction effort that pursues active participation of the private sector and local government units to make poverty reduction rapid and sustainable,” Musali said. In 2012, ARMM has recorded poverty incidence of 48.70 percentage points and Sulu with a record high of 40.17 percentage points among families.
ASAPP was created by the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster, which prioritizes 10 provinces in the country, including Sulu. Programs to be financed under the initiative are the Universal Health Care, Conditional Cash Transfer, Sustainable Livelihood, Abot Alam Program, and other initiatives geared at informal-settler families.
Official data showed that poverty incidence in the Philippines during the first semester of 2013 decreased by three percentage points from its level in 2012, it rose again in 2014 by 1.2 percentage points, as food prices increased faster than the incomes of the poor.
“The challenge is to ensure that economic growth will increase the incomes of the poor at a rate faster than inflation,” Musali added. She said strengthening price control, providing production support facilities and markets, and livelihood opportunities to poor population and improving peace and order situation will address the threats to food price inflation.
Twenty ARMM line agencies including its lead convenor, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-ARMM, will streamline their programs in the implementation of ASAPP for poverty reduction, employment and income generation. (Bureau of Public Information)