By Mike U. Crismundo
Surigao City – The province of Surigao del Norte continues to rise from being one of the poorest provinces in the country in 2003 and 2006, to being one of the fastest growing provinces today.
Based on the National Economic and Development Authority’s Regional Economic Situationer (NEDA-RES), Surigao del Norte has shown continuous and rapid decrease in poverty incidence since 2009.
Data also gathered by the Philippine Statistics Office showed that the province of Surigao del Norte has decreased its poverty incidence from a high of 48.9 percent in 2009 to 26.7 percent in 2015.
“In as much as we are grateful to know that all our efforts have paid off, we cannot afford to rest on our achievements and be complacent,” said Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol F. Matugas, the first lady governor of this province.
“We need to work harder, synchronize our efforts towards alleviating poverty as we strive to achieve at least the national target of 18 percent,” the provincial chief executive told The Manila Bulletin yesterday.
In her monthly convergence meeting Friday with heads of different national line agencies and representatives from the academe, private sector, NGOs and socio-civic organizations, Matugas expressed her appreciation for their support to the vision and mission of the province.
“I want to thank you for your contributions, for your engagement in all our programs and activities,” she added.
The Convergence Team was created in 2014 as a strategy to ensure the convergence of efforts and resources of concerned national government agencies (NGAs), non-government agencies, civil society organization, city and municipal governments, local and foreign funding institutions, and private individuals and organizations towards community development and poverty reduction.
Its members conducted joint planning sessions and came up with a unified strategic plan with focus on the priority development agenda of the provincial government, the Health, Education and Environment, Agriculture and Aquaculture, Livelihood and Tourism (HEALS) program, as well as in the area of spiritual, security, and social services.
The HEALS program has evolved through the years, during the three terms of Matugas, and is considered a revolutionary concept which made possible focused implementation of programs per sector, resulting in positive outcomes and impact to the lives of the Surigaonons.