VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Advocate flubs poverty data during anti-poverty book launch

Read this fact check in Filipino

Evita Jimenez, executive director of think tank Center for People Empowerment in Governance, falsely claimed Bicol is the country’s poorest region during the launch of a government anti-poverty book she co-wrote.

She also said second class municipality Caramoan Island, a popular destination in the region, remains a third class municipality despite tourism developments.


On Jan. 11, during the launch of the book “Reforming Philippine Anti-Poverty Policy” by the National Anti-Poverty Commission, Jimenez described Bicol first as “one of the poorest,” and then as “poorest among regions:”

“May isa kaming pag-aaral na ginagawa sa Bicol. Ang Bicol ay isa sa pinakamahirap na rehiyon sa buong Pilipinas. Nakakapagtaka dahil ang Bicol ay napakalapit sa Manila, NCR. Pero hanggang ngayon sa ilang dekada, nananatili siyang pinakamahirap sa mga rehiyon (We’re doing a study in Bicol. Bicol is one of the poorest regions in the Philippines. This is surprising since Bicol is located near Manila, NCR. Yet, after several decades, it remains the poorest among the regions).”

Source: Launch of the National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretariat Policy Paper, Jan. 11, 2017, Quezon City, listen from 0:36 to 0:57

Speaking about poverty and people’s participation in governance, she then used as example Caramoan Island in Camarines Sur:

Ito ang pinakamagandang isla sa buong (It is the most beautiful island in) Camarines Sur, ang Caramoan. Sa ngayon, nananatili siyang (Until now, it remains a) third-class municipality.”

Source: Launch of the National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretariat Policy Paper, Jan. 11, 2017, Quezon City, listen from 1:18 to 1:30


The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), where almost half of families is considered poor, is the poorest region in the country, latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show.

The Caraga Region is the second poorest, with 30.8 percent of families considered poor; followed by Eastern Visayas, 30.7 percent; Soccsksargen, 30.5 percent; and Northern Mindanao, 30.3 percent.

Bicol ranks sixth, with 25.7 percent of families considered poor.

The PSA estimates that a family of five would need P9,064 a month to meet basic food and nonfood needs; those who live below this threshold are considered poor.

Caramoan, also contrary to Jimenez’s claim, is a second- and not a third class municipality, per the PSA as of December 2017.

Third class municipalities are those with an annual income of P270 million to P360 million; second class P360 million to P450 million; and first class P450 million and above.


Department of Finance Department Order No. 23-08

Philippine Statistics Authority, Philippine Standard Geographic Codes: Camarines Sur, Philippine Statistics Authority

PSA, Poverty incidence among Filipinos registered at 21.6% in 2015 - PSA

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative.)

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