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Poverty incidence has worsened in Eastern Visayas from 2006 to 2009, with nearly half of the region’s population remaining poor, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board Regional Office VIII. From 1.56 million (39 percent) poor individuals in 2006, the number rose to 1.73 million in 2009, which accounted for 41.4 percent of Region VIII population. The figure is way above the 26.5 percent poverty incidence at the national level.

This poverty data indicates that a family of five in Eastern Visayas needed Php934 in 2009 to meet their monthly food needs alone and Php1,325 to stay out of poverty. Southern Leyte registered the highest increase in poverty incidence from 2006 to 2009 (30.2 percent to 43.3 percent), Samar (38.5 percent to 45 percent), Eastern Samar (47.8 percent to 54 percent), and Biliran (33.8 percent to 34.9 percent).

Southern Leyte registered the highest increase in poverty incidence from 2006 to 2009 (30.2 percent to 43.3 percent), Samar (38.5 percent to 45 percent), Eastern Samar (47.8 percent to 54 percent), and Biliran (33.8 percent to 34.9 percent).

From 2000 to 2006, the annual per capita poverty threshold consistently increased for all areas as shown in Table 5. In 2000, the annual per capita poverty threshold of Southern Leyte amounted to Php9,459.00, which was the third lowest in Region VIII (Php9,530.00) and significantly lower compared to that of the Philippines (Php11,458.00). However, in 2006, Southern Leyte’s  poverty threshold of Php13,998.00 was slightly higher than that of Region VIII (Php13,974.00) but lower compared to that of the Philippines (Php15,057.00). 

From 2000 to 2003, Southern Leyte had an income gap increase of 0.2 while the Philippines had an income gap decrease of 0.4, and Region VIII, at 0.7. Another increase in the income gap was recorded from 2003 to 2006 at 2.1, which was higher than the Philippines’ 0.1 but lower than that of Region VIII at 3.7. 

From 2000 to 2003, the poverty gap of Southern Leyte marked 1.3, which was higher than that of Region VIII and the Philippines. In 2003 to 2006, the poverty gap of Southern Leyte significantly decreased at negative 0.1 (Table 6).