The National Economic and Development Authority regional office in Palo, Leyte. (PNA file photo)
TACLOBAN CITY — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is eyeing the approval and adoption of the Samar Island Development Agenda (SIDA) by the Regional Development Council (RDC) within the first quarter of 2019.
NEDA Eastern Visayas Regional Director Bonifacio Uy said in a phone interview Wednesday that SIDA will contain an in-depth analysis of the poverty situation in three Samar provinces.
“The document will present socioeconomic challenges in the island and based on such analysis, provide practical recommendations,” Uy told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Since early 2018, a series of workshops has been conducted to generate inputs for the formulation of SIDA 2018-2022. These include the Samar Island consultative workshop in Catbalogan City, task force workshop in this city, and SIDA write shop in Palo, Leyte.
After the review and editing earlier this month, the document will be reviewed and endorsed by the provincial development councils of Samar, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar.
In 2016, the RDC then chaired by Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla proposed the creation of a “Mini Marshall Plan” directing the formulation of SIDA and creating a task force “to arrest the worsening poverty scenario and accelerate the development of Samar Island.”
“I’m happy that my proposal to address poverty in Samar has been considered. Just like in Leyte, we want to see development in Samar not just in cities and major commercial districts, but in rural areas as well,” Petilla said in a radio interview.
Samar Island, being the country’s third largest island covering approximately 1.34 million hectares, has a lot of potential given its vast and rich agricultural lands, extensive and lush forests, abundant marine and fishery resources, and large mineral deposits.
“However, various socioeconomic issues and challenges in Samar Island continue to hamper the achievement of its full potentials. Samar Island’s poverty incidence has worsened with the average proportion of families below the poverty threshold increasing from 38 percent in 2006 to 44.8 in 2015,” Uy added.
The three Samar provinces are consistently among the country’s top 10 poorest provinces. (PNA)