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Oct 27th
Home Sections Other News Why Bicolandia Is One of the Poorest Regions in the Philippines
Why Bicolandia Is One of the Poorest Regions in the Philippines PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Bobby M. Reyes   
Monday, 24 March 2014 11:34

And Why Sorsogon Is the Second-poorest Province in the Bicol Region

By Lolo Bobby M. Reyes of Bacon-Sorsogon City and West Covina, California

H ere are 10 top reasons why Bicol is one of the poorest regions in the Philippines and why Sorsogon is the second-poorest province in Bicolandia (in alphabetical order and not necessarily according to its importance or financial value):

10. Attitude of the people, i.e. "doctrine of minimal compliance" and "threshold for happiness (or contentment) is that shallow" ("napaka-babaw ng kaligayahan") and these practices result in the people selling their votes to the political dynasties during elections and continue the choke-hold by political dynasties of the status quo: please read the explanation in this article:

9.0 "Back-to-basics" practices in governance and also in economic empowerment are not being followed. A concrete example is that both the national-and-provincial governments devote huge budgetary allocations for tourism, trade-and-commerce promotion instead of finishing the Bulan and/or Bacon airports and the extension of the railroad to the Matnog ferry port and/or the construction of fishing ports and operation of modern fishing vessels. My Chicago, Illinois-based friend, Benjamin A. Samonte, wrote in our FB Group some of the reasons why our people and not just Bicolnons or Sorsoganons, are poor:

8.0 Corruption. The people tolerate the non-compliance of the ATIC policies by their public, private-sector leaders and even their churches. ATIC, as I coined, is the acronym for Accountability, Transparency, Integrity and Credibility. A simple solution has been offered to drastically curtail or even totally eliminate the problem:

7.0 Educational system is backward and underfunded. Many of the faculty members and most of the students have never been taught the practice of "critical thinking." Please read discussions in this Facebook group for some of the offered solutions:

6.0 Electrical and water services are not affordable and not reliable, as brownouts and water-supply interruptions are frequent. Sorsogon Province and the entire Bicol Region can have "energy independence" from The Imperial Manila (TIM) in five-to-seven years but the people have not marshaled the right political will to elect their officials who will pursue self-reliance in electricity by tapping their natural resources such as Sorsogon's 50 rivers and numerous brooks, springs and bodies of water. Without dependable power-and-water supplies, not much economic empowerment can be had. We have discussed in this Facebook file how to achieve "energy independence" from TIM:

5.0 A health-maintenance organization (HMO) is absent despite the fact that provincial governments own and operate provincial-and-emergency hospitals, a TB pavilion and municipal health clinics. Sorsogon and the Bicol Region have thousands of medical professionals who are working abroad and who can be tapped to support the HMO project as stakeholders. Sorsogon Province alone should have a nearly one-billion-peso HMO operation per year, which can have mutliplier positive effects on the economy. Please see more discussions in this Facebook group: A population, a majority of which is not healthy, cannot hope to improve their quality of life.

       5.1 Here is a discussion on cholera, sexually-transmitted diseases (STD) and even AIDS cases in Sorsogon Province:

       5.2  This Facebook group discusses the "quality of life" index: The discussions in the thread about the "Quality of Life Index" are also reproduced in the "Filipino Exodus" FB Group, per this URL: FYI.

4.0 Lack of permanent, typhoon-&-earthquake-resistant housing, private-&-public offices, especially school buildings, and infrastructures. Bicol and Sorsogon Province are visited frequently by tropical typhoons and they have earthquake faults, as the region has at least four volcanic ranges. Please see the offered solutions to remedy this need:

3.0 Law-and-order (L&O) issues: Criminal syndicates -- from Akyat-bahay or home-invasion robberies to Illegal-drugs and/or illegal-gambling groups (as said to be tolerated by law-enforcement authorities and/or politicians) -- continue to make Bicol provinces not attractive to private stakeholders, especially foreign-direct and/or Overseas-Filipino investments. The continued military clashes between government forces and the New People's Army (NPA) and the collection of the so-called "revolutionary taxes" that even politicians are forced to pay add more to the L&O problems. Here is a dialogue among Sorsoganons in the matter of the insurgency:

2.0  Natural resources and agricultural potentials are under-utilized or not utilized at all. For instance, Sorsogon, if not the Bicol Region, can be the world's capital of abaca, the pili-nut and even Southeasia's center of herbal-and-natural medicine. The region can also become one of the world's biggest producers of seaweed-salad ingredients, seafood, cacao, coffee, black pepper and chili powder and hot sauces but the regional political-and-private leaders lack the vision, the determination and the talents to lead their people in developing their God-given natural assets and agricultural potentials. Please read this dialogue about the pili industry: A nd ...

1.0  Unsustainable population growth. Sorsogon's population is projected to exceed one-million souls by 2030 or even earlier. Without promoting "Responsible Parenthood" and addressing the other causes of poverty -- be it material, political or even spiritual -- Sorsogon Province, the Bicol Region and the entire country may soon face not only famine but also a complete breakdown of civil authority even without Yolanda-like typhoons or 7.2-magnitude or stronger earthquakes ravaging our homeland. Please see this discussion on the Sorsogon population:

       1.1  Here's a SorsoGold discussion on the scenario on a worldwide famine: FYI.

       1.2  Here is my Facebook note about the need to prepare for the Big One and other quake-caused calamities in the Philippines: FYI.

R eaders are invited to add more reasons as to why the Bicol Region, Sorsogon Province and the Philippines are poor when we, Filipinos, are blessed with so much natural and human resources. This is just an eye-opener and perhaps we can turn it into an eventual position paper or even a thesis for students who are taking up post-graduate studies. Thank you for your cooperation.

Perhaps a reader may like to translate this article into Tagalog or Naga Bicol or the Sorsoganon dialect (a combination of the Bicolnon and Samarnon languages). # # #

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Last Updated on Saturday, 01 November 2014 18:14

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