Eastern Samar is the poorest province in the Eastern Visayas region, repeatedly torn by natural disasters and years of conflict. Poverty incidence has slightly decreased in recent years, but despite being one of the top producers of coconut and abaca in the country, most of Eastern Samar’s poor are still found in the farming and fishing industry. The COVID pandemic accompanied by seasonal typhoons has caused three-fourths of the province’s families to experience a decrease in income. In the desire to uplift the people of Eastern Samar, church-based and community-based organizations alike work together in bringing the province to surpass its vulnerabilities through increased connectivity and harmony among institutions.
- 47,963 poor families (2018)
- Poverty incidence had a considerable decline in recent years, now at 40.86%
- High vulnerability: 49% of poor lost incomes during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Caritas Borongan Incorporated (CBI) leads the Eastern Samar Convergence in collaboration with the Municipality of Arteche
- Aiming for a province-wide convergence
- Municipality of Arteche as the main local government partner
The province of Eastern Samar has the highest poverty incidence rate in the whole Eastern Visayas region but has a significantly lower magnitude of poor families (47,963) compared to Leyte (108,000). Eastern Samar has seen an increase in poverty incidence among families from 2006 to 2012 (41.32% to 55.43%) but has also experienced a considerable decline in recent years with 55.43% in 2012 and 40.86% in 2018. A big majority of Eastern Samar’s poor individuals earn their living in the Agricultural, Forestry, and Fishery sector while 27,361 are in Mining and Quarrying. Among the 6 ZEP local convergences, Eastern Samar is distinctly the only province that has food poverty as the most dominant poverty indicator (16.5%), likewise, the province has the highest average monthly food threshold for families in the region (PhP8,458).
Visualization of Available Poverty Data
According to the ZEP-UNDP COVID Pulse PH Survey, 57% of the Covid Pulse PH respondents in Eastern Samar expressed in Q1 2021 that their income worsened compared to the previous year, while 49% 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 and receiving help from the government as well as 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
ZEP found not only a well-established civil society convenor through Caritas Borongan Incorporated (CBI) but also a close collaborator in government through the Municipality of Arteche’s Mayor Bowad. The Eastern Samar Convergence recognizes the importance of data in delivering programs that would have the greatest impact on the community by conducting the ZEP Poverty Probability Index survey and the Family and Community Visioning workshop. Mayor Bowad believes in the value of constant communication with the people and making them partners in achieving collective impact. The convergence hopes to expand its scope across the whole of Arteche and is determined to encourage other government-CSO collaborations in order to build a province-wide convergence.
Success Stories from the Field
Local Convergences need not be initiated by civil-society-led organizations. ZEP2030 recognizes the roles of partners from other sectors and recognizes that each area may initiate a process of convening different from the others. Arteche, Eastern Samar is one example that local government units, with a progressive local chief executive, can successfully bring together various stakeholders towards a common goal.
Arteche is a small municipality located on the northern and eastern boundaries of Samar, approximately four to five hours away from Tacloban City. It inhabits around 16, 000 individuals yet is considered to be one of the poorest municipalities in Eastern Samar. With a vision to alleviate poverty in their municipality, Mayor Roland Boie “Bowad” Evardone strives to stimulate individual behavioral and communal change through his innovative interventions.
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Map of Local Convergence Members
ZEP Eastern Samar Convergence Members
To collaborate with the ZEP Eastern Samar Convergence, reach out to Mario Ian Mosquisa of CBI at firstname.lastname@example.org