Ninety Nine percent (99%) or 131 Local Government Units (LGUs) in Central Visayas inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to utilize its database of poor families. Only the town of Loay in Bohol has yet to sign the data sharing agreement.

“Building partnerships with LGUs and other social protection stakeholders is essential for us to implement our various poverty alleviation programs and services effectively,” said Regional Director Mercedita Jabagat.

The data was on the poor households was gathered through the Listahanan or National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), an information management system of the DSWD that identifies who and where the poor are in the country.

Given the limited resources of any anti-poverty programs and services, the agency had recognized the need to have a clear basis for identifying who and where the poor are to ensure that resources benefit those who are truly in need.

“Listahanan, Talaan ng Pamilyang Nangangailangan, is the first of its kind in the Philippine. It can provide even the names of these poor families or households.” Jabagat added.

The database of poor families offers various types of information to its stakeholders. These include composition of poor households, their highest educational attainment, occupation and assets, features of their house, and their access to basic services or facilities like water, electricity, and sanitary toilet, among others.

“Hence, I urged LGUs and NGOs to use these available data to develop appropriate programs and strategies to address poverty and improve the welfare of the poor,” emphasized Jabagat.

As of July 2013, there are about 646 local government units nationwide who have completed a data-sharing agreement with the department. These LGUs are using the database to develop programs for the poor and identify deserving beneficiaries for these programs.

Other than the government agencies, NGOs like the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), Outreach Program on Trainings, Integral Organizing and Networking for Solidarity Inc. (OPTIONS), Alay Lakad Foundation, and Euphrasia Parent Association Inc. have also signed the data-sharing agreement with the department.  (PR – Kerwin Macopia)