TACLOBAN CITY – The Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) is pushing for the creation of a task force to formulate a mini-Marshall Plan to curb poverty in three Samar provinces.
Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, former RDC chairman, said that a task force is needed to “deeply understand the problem on poverty in Samar areas and formulate a Marshall Plan.”
“The region cannot push for economic growth if the challenge on poverty persists in Samar Island. The economic ranking of the region will never improve if areas in Samar remain poor,” said Petilla, who just concluded his term as RDC head on June 30.
A Marshall Plan refers to the massive financial aid program of the United States to western and southern countries in Europe to help them rebuild after the destructions they suffered in the aftermath of World War II.
In response to the proposal, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has allocated funds for research development.
One of the studies approved for this year is to determine the socio cultural factors on the poverty situation in the region.
“NEDA Region 8 has allotted P5 million funds to conduct the said study which will be bid out to come up with scientific and objective study on the factors and root causes of poverty,” said NEDA Regional Director Bonifacio Uy.
Aside from the NEDA initiative, the RDC is also counting on studies initiated through the implementation of Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan program, which downloaded P5 billion funds in Samar remote communities.
The RDC also urged national government agencies to step up support to Samar provinces under existing programs.
The Philippine Statistics Authority has identified Samar provinces as among the 10 areas with the highest poverty incidence in the country.
Eastern Samar had 40.1 percent poverty incidence while both Samar and Northern Samar posted 41.8 and 52.4 percent poverty incidence respectively.