Cebu, the Queen of the South, has been the richest province in the country for 6 consecutive years. But it has a secret: it is also home to the most number of poor families. Around 140,000 of those in farming and fishing remain poor despite Cebu’ improving economy and almost half of the families have lost their source of income due to the pandemic. With trust and confidence among civil society organizations, the Cebu convergence presses for the local government’s attention and participation in their hopes of engaging more actors to help end Cebu’s inequality crisis.
- 133,948 poor families (2018)
- Poverty significantly decreased over the past decade, now 11.3%
- High vulnerability: 42% of poor lost incomes during COVID-19
- CENVISNET convened organizations to form the Cebu Convergence
- On-going partnerships and expansion plans
- Emerging partnership with Municipality of Camotes Island through A2D Project
- Establishing a partnership with PLDT and Smart
Cebu houses the Philippines’ 2nd largest metropolitan area, Metro Cebu. But, regardless of its low poverty incidence among families (11.3%), the province has the largest magnitude of poor families in the country at 133,948. However, thanks to Cebu’s persistent economic growth, its poverty incidence estimate has significantly decreased over the past decade, particularly, the number of poor families has decreased by 70,000 from 2015 to 2018 alone. Most of Cebu’s poor earn their living from farming, fishing, and mining with 140,862 poor individuals employed in the Agricultural, Forestry, and Fishery sector and 83,244 in Mining and Quarrying. Common inadequacies among Cebu’s poor are not having proper water piping and well protection (15.2%) and also latrines without flush and ventilation (11.4%).
Visualization of Available Poverty Data
According to the ZEP-UNDP COVID Pulse PH Survey, only 31% of the Covid Pulse PH respondents in Cebu expressed in Q1 2021 that their income worsened compared to the previous year, while 42% have lost their jobs or were forced to close down their businesses. Despite the decline in income, few respondents have expressed a certain level of recovery from the pandemic, and reasons for improvement were attributed to having sideline work/businesses, going back to their previous jobs, and receiving help from friends and family. What remains to be the main obstacle to economic recovery is the irregularity of income due to prevailing COVID-19 restrictions.
COVID Pulse PH Survey Findings
Led by the Central Visayas Network of NGOs (CENVISNET), the Cebu ZEP Convergence has been proactively engaging both local governments and communities on advocacies to prevent worsening poverty since August 2019. The convergence took advantage of its existing networks and resources to jumpstart projects in their communities, and in the face of setbacks brought about by the pandemic, was able to sustain its activities and even bring in new members from different civil society institutions. Currently at 19 members and through the sustained and collective contribution of its members, the convergence is excited and ready to move forward with its emerging partnerships through A2D Project and expanding operations over to Talisay all underway.
Success Stories from the Field
ZEP2030’s journey to go all-in-local by expanding their work through area-based convergences had its early start in Cebu. Cebu is one of the most densely populated and highly urbanized provinces located in the Central Visayas region where pockets of poverty persist despite the decreasing poverty rates in the province in the last six years.
“CSOs, overall, have a good standing in Cebu and are recognized by the government through their membership in local development councils and other local development bodies,” said Lenbi Laborte, Executive Director of the Central Visayas Network of NGOs (CENVISNET).
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Map of Local Convergence Members
ZEP Cebu Convergence Members
A2D Project-Research Group for Alternatives to Development, Inc.
Cebu Leads Foundation
Central Visayas Network of NGOs and POs (CENVISNET)
Coalition for Better Education (CBE)
Collaboration for Development and Humanitarian Action (CDHA/Collab4Dev)
De La Salle – Andres Soriano Memorial College (DLS-ASMC)
Feed the Children Philippines
Fellowship for Organizing Endeavors (FORGE)
International Care Ministries (ICM)
Passerelles numériques Philippines Foundation, Inc.
Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP)
Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA)
Primary Structures Educational Foundation, Inc. (PSEFI)
Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI)
Rotaract Club of Cebu Fuente
Sto. Niño Augustinian Social Development Foundation, Inc. (SNAF)
USPF-Community Extension Services
VICTO National Cooperative Federation and Development Center
To collaborate with the ZEP Cebu Convergence, reach out to CENVISNET at email@example.com