A TOTAL of 453,961 out of 5,599,091 identified poor households in the Philippines are from Central Visayas.

This was revealed during the launch of the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Central Visayas’ (DSWD 7) “Listahanan 3 Database” on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, at the Bai Hotel in Mandaue City.

DSWD 7 Director Shalaine Lucero said the figure is relatively low compared to the last Listahanan 2, where about 534,000 poor households were recorded in 2015.

Lucero said the database is essential to identify possible beneficiaries for both the government and other non-government concerned organizations for their programs for the urban poor.

However, individuals in the database still need to undergo another validation process before they can be enrolled in poverty-inclined programs by the government.

Republic Act 8425 (the Social Reform and Poverty Alleviation Act) states that the poor “refers to individuals and families whose income fall below the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority and/or cannot afford in a sustained manner to provide their minimum basic needs of food, health, education, housing and other essential amenities of life.”

According to Lucero, the DSWD used the Listahanan database as the basis for identifying beneficiaries for their programs, particularly for cash aid distributions and the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

For the latest list, the DSWD 7 assessed 1,078,079 households in the region through the coordination of their barangay verification teams.

Although the assessment was done in 2019, the results were only released on Thursday due to some challenges, such as the pandemic, said Lucero.

Out of those evaluated, Cebu had the highest number of poor households, with 220,112, followed by Negros Oriental (146,669) and Bohol (84,343). Siquijor Province had the least number, with 2,837 poor households.

In Cebu, among tri-cities, Cebu City had the most number of poor families, with 11,805, followed by Lapu-Lapu (8,481) and Mandaue (4,112).

The survey also showed that more men were considered poor compared to women in Region 7, or 1,332,917 and 1,243,910, respectively.

Overall, Cebu remained on top with the highest number of poor households during the three consecutive assessments made since 2009.

Donaldo Rey Dojacto, regional information technology officer II, said it is because Cebu has more population compared to other provinces in the region.

Lucero said they hoped the local government units (LGUs) would partner with them and use the “Listahanan” through data-sharing partnership legalized by a memorandum of agreement to ensure good governance and equitable division of resources.

“It is relevant because the ‘Listahanan’ is designed to be the basis of national government agencies and, of course, LGUs to utilize for taking up planning, budgeting, policy formulation in relation to social protection and even cash assistance. At least they have a reference,” said Lucero.