MANILA, WED news |Occidental Mindoro’s economic condition has greatly improved in the last three years as poverty incidence dropped by 10.4 percent from 2015 to 2018, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The PSA report released on April 10, 2019 indicates that Occidental Mindoro is also topping in terms of economic performance in the MIMAROPA Region. The PSA report covers the 1st semester of 2015 and the 1st semester of 2018.
“It only proves that good local governance eventually leads to local economic development that benefits the people. Hindi na po matatawag na mahirap ang karamihan sa ating mga kababayan,” says lone Occidental Mindoro Representative Josephine “Nene” Ramirez-Sato.
During the first semester of 2015, poverty incidence in Occidental Mindoro was 32 percent. Palawan, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque and Romblon have poverty incidence of 17.9 percent, 21,.7 percent, 23.9 percent, and 26.8 percent, respectively.
But because of the various programs of the Provincial Government, poverty incidence in Occidental Mindoro in the first semester of 2018 dropped to 22 percent.
Poverty incidence in Palawan, Oriental Mindoro, and Marinduque, likewise improved to 11.2 percent, 12.8 percent, and 14.2 percent while that in Romblon also dropped to 24 percent.
The drop in poverty incidence in Occidental Mindoro is 10.4 percent, a double-digit drop, while Palawan experienced a 6.6 percent decrease in poverty incidence. Marinduque’s poverty incidence dropped by 8.9 percent, while Oriental Mindoro’s poverty incidence dropped by 9.7 percent. Romblon’s poverty incidence also dropped by 2.5 percent.
Sato attributed the good economic performance to various programs and projects initiated by the unified “SMA” leadership from the national level down to the local level. SMA stands for Sato, Mendiola and Alfaro.
These include easier access to the province by way of improved infrastructure facilities – the airport, sea port and its road networks.
The Provincial Government of Occidental Mindoro’s support to various sectors, particularly local salt producers, tuna catchers, rice and vegetable farmers, meanwhile boosted agricultural growth.
Moreover, Sato noted the improvement in the peace and order situation in the province encouraged investors to make the province a bright spot for business, with fast food chains, hotels and restaurants, malls and grocery stores being the preferred business ventures.
According to Sato, the improved economic condition was also boosted by the expansion of the finance sector with the establishment of more banks and lending institutions in the province.
Meanwhile, Governor Gene Mendiola said the province’s overall performance in improving tax collection and judicious spending of public funds by the provincial government positively impacted the local economy.
Mendiola added that the support to human development through the increased number of graduates from secondary, tertiary and technical schools indicate that the province is on the right track.
Because of the exemplary performance of the unified SMA leadership in Occidental Mindoro, the province became a consistent awardee of the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Occidental Mindoro’s ranking – 38th in terms of poverty incidence in a total of 87 clustered provinces – proves the province is in a better economic condition today, Mendiola said.
“It only means under the SMA team, Occidental Mindoro has gone a long way and we will continue to improve as we continue our journey together,” Mendiola said, urging the people of Occidental Mindoro to work together to sustain the province’s growth and development.
Vice Governor Peter Alfaro, for his part, said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has passed timely and relevant policy measures as well as local legislation that made the province competitive.
“This greatly improved the quality of life of the province’s citizens, aligning Occidental Mindoro with the country’s commitments to sustainable development goals,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sato underscores the importance of providing adequate protection of the province’s environment and natural resources through the setting up and expansion of marine protected areas (MPAs) and watershed areas, as well as the continued enforcement of the 25-year mining moratorium backs the sustainable development agenda of the incumbent provincial officials.
The increased tourist arrival in Occidental Mindoro because of the ecotourism attractions is a plus factor as it also provides jobs and livelihood to many people in coastal communities.
Also a former Governor of Occidental Mindoro, the lady sonlon said various programs and projects of the incumbent leaders are meant to sustain development without compromising the integrity of the province’s healthy environment and rich biodiversity.
“Our environment, our biodiversity, they are our real treasures. Our policies prohibiting destructive mining and other development projects while pursuing local economic development based on our natural resources is still the best for the people. In time, we will enjoy a brighter future as we have already established a strong foundation for businesses to thrive without plundering our precious natural resources. Sama sama, tulong tulong po tayo para sa pagsulong ng Occidental Mindoro,” Sato ended.