By Loui Maliza
Padayon Pilipino .
SIX years into office, Provincial Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano of Misamis Oriental has accomplished a feat suited only for men of extraordinary acumen.
Emano has conquered one of the world’s most elusive enemies of all time: poverty.
While poverty could not be eradicated totally, the reduction of its incidence is already a triumph that every public servant could only desire.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has reported that the poverty incidence among Filipino families was estimated at 21.1 percent during the first quarter of 2015. In its 2015 full report on the Official Poverty Statistics of the Philippines, the PSA stated that the severity of poverty in Misamis Oriental in 2012 was 2.1 percent of its population. Governor Emano was aware of the poverty’s critical condition when he first started to govern Misamis Oriental six years ago in 2013. “Poverty robs a person of dignity and self-esteem. I will face the problem of poverty squarely to bail out the ‘Misamisnons’ from deprivation,” Emano said.
Taking note of the PSA report, Emano has instituted various interventions to address the problem. One of which is the rebranding of the agriculture industry. Emano said that the farmers must learn to adopt a “market driven” farming technology in order to become competitive in the market. Apollo Pacamalan, the Provincial Agriculturist of Misamis Oriental, said that the institution of various interventions has improved the income of the farmers. The PSA has reported that the poverty threshold in terms of annual per capita income in Misamis Oriental in 2012 was P 21,299 or a monthly income of P 1,775. Pacamalan said that since the adoption of Emano’s various economic interventions, a significant increase of the farmers’ income has been reported. In a survey conducted among 4,000 farmers in Misamis Oriental in 2017, the farmers’ annual per capita income increased to P48,000 or a monthly income of P 4,000.
The result of the province’s survey was consistent with the PSA report that the severe poverty incidence among families in Misamis Oriental went down to 0.9 percent in 2015 from a high of 2.1 percent in 2012. Emano also said that the year 2019 promises a brighter prospect for the people of Misamis Oriental. According to him, the entry of the multi-national companies in Misamis Oriental would perk up employment opportunities that would definitely help the province’s “poverty reduction” programs. The governor is referring to the entry of the China-based HBIS Group Co., Ltd. (HBIS), considered as one of the world’s largest steelmakers. The HBIS would start the construction of its platforms at the Phividec Industrial Zone in Misamis Oriental this year. Emano announced that the steel company would need an initial 3,000 to 5,000 workers once its initial operation starts in the 365-hectare industrial site at the Phividec, and about 20,000 workers when the steel company becomes fully operational.
“The HBIS management has promised that the “Misamisnons” would be given priority in the hiring of workers,” Emano added.
The figure released by the Department of Trade and Industry in 2018 also noted that the “underemployment rate” in Misamis Oriental was 26.9 percent as of Oct. 2016.
The DTI data disclosed that the employment rate in Misamis Oriental was 95.9 percent in Oct. 2016 with an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent during the same period. Emano explained that the entry of new investors in Misamis Oriental in 2019 would certainly improve the current 95.9 percent employment rate.
Aside from improving the employment rate, the underemployed would generally benefit from the entry of new investors in Misamis Oriental. “We are laser-focused on poverty reduction, and my administration is confident in the possibility of Misamisnons regaining their dignity and well-being,” Emano said.
(Loui Maliza is a staff member at the capitol press office.)