2 governors look forward to special funds for poor provinces
TACLOBAN CITY — Two governors in Eastern Visayas welcomed the announcement of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to provide special funds for poverty-stricken localities in the country.
Governors Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar and Edwin Ongchuan of Northern Samar—whose provinces are considered among the country’s least developed areas—believed any help from the national government would give their constituents a huge lift.
For Evardone, he said additional funds would help them “accelerate” development in the province.
“President Marcos has committed to establish a special fund to help poor localities. This is on top of the national tax allocation that local government units (LGUs) receive annually for our share from national taxes,” he said in a text message to Inquirer on May 20.
Evardone added: “I believe that this additional fund will enable poor LGUs to accelerate their development and ensure that we can deliver more essential social services to our people.”
Eastern Samar, which has a national tax allocation of P1.77 billion, has a poverty incidence of 29.4 percent based on the 2021 poverty incidence report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
This means, there are 29 poor families for every 100 households in the province.
Based on the 2020 census, Eastern Samar has a population of 477,168 people,
Governor Ongchuan shared the same sentiments with Evardone.
“As governor of Northern Samar, we thank President Marcos for expressing his intent to support less developed LGUs in the country through additional funding,” he said in a statement.
While it gets a total income of P2.4 billion, P2.1 billion of which is sourced from its national tax allocation share, Northern Samar continues to grapple with poverty.
Northern Samar’s population, as determined by the 2020 census, was at 639,186.
“With our limited resources, any additional fund will greatly help finance our development programs in the province as we try to keep our economic growth going,” Ongchuan said.
Marcos, in his speech during the general assembly of the League of Provinces of the Philippines held at Clark, Pampanga on Friday, May 19, vowed to put up a special funding for poor local governments in the country, particularly those classified under third to sixth classes.