Letters to the Editor

Fact checker fact checked

The Philippine Star

With his performance during the March 9 Commission on Appointments hearing on the confirmation of Environment Secretary-designate Regina Lopez, what Senator  Juan Miguel Zubiri will be saying during the continuation of the  hearing on May 2 bears watching. He may have more inaccuracies and omissions which have the effect of  misleading the public up his sleeves.   

Zubiri had announced that he is a stickler for numbers and that he had gotten in touch with the Philippine Statistics Authority when he stood to “fact check” the statements of Lopez. But it appears he had not read the list of  the mines ordered by Lopez closed when he  declared not one of the mines is located in the 20 poorest provinces. Emir Minerals Corp. and TechIron Mineral Resources, Inc. which are among the mines ordered closed are located in Eastern Samar (http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2017/02/02/DENR-closes-23-mining-firms-plans-rehabilitation-of-affected-areas.html) which is in a tie with Lanao del Norte for the 11th and 12th spots at 50 percent poverty incidence.

Zubiri was right when he pointed out that contrary to the claim of Lopez,  Caraga is not the poorest region in the country. But he did not mention that Caraga is a strong fourth in the list of poorest regions. With its 35.3 percent poverty incidence among families, it’s just 2.1 percent lower than third running Region 12 which has 37.4 percent. The region is very much closer to the bottom of the heap  than it is to the top. This makes the question of Secretary Lopez “If mining is so good, why is Caraga the poorest region in the country?” relevant.  

Zubiri also mentioned for the record that  the Caraga provinces Surigao del Norte with 33 percent poverty incidence, Surigao del Sur with 32.8 percent  and  Agusan del Norte with 31.1 percent are not in the Top 20 poorest provinces. He said they are No. 25, No. 27 and No. 31, respectively. Conspicuously missing from his list of Caraga provinces is Agusan del Sur which at 44.7 percent is No. 10 poorest. More than that, he did not cite the PSA report’s national poverty incidence among families for the first semester of 2015 which was 21.1 percent. This is  substantially lower than the poverty incidences of all provinces in Caraga. — ESTANISLAO ALBANO Jr., Secretary, Kalinga Anti-pollution Action Group, [email protected]




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