Critics of the provincial administration misread the Bohol Poll 2015, attributing poverty to the failure in governance.
An ally of former Carmen mayor Che Delos Reyes who lost to Gov. Edgar Chatto in the 2013 elections came up with a news item stating that the Bohol Poll 2015 presented increase of poverty incidence from 62 percent last year to 67 percent this year.
The former mayorâ€™s ally who also lost in his town during the 2013 elections also interpreted that the Bohol Poll 2015 results mean â€œall the funds from DA released through Yap which supposedly covered the entire province and particularly his district and all his PDAF allocations in the amount of P120 million for three years, have not helped in uplifting the lot of the poor and the farmersâ€.
On the contrary, the Bohol Poll 2015 is clear that what the survey included was a self-rated poverty and poverty threshold and not indicator-based survey on poverty incidence.
In the survey, the respondents were asked to rate their level of poverty wherein 67 percent of the households said they are poor while four percent said they were not poor and 29 percent said they are on the line.
It had been explained earlier that in the Filipino culture, it is awkward for anyone to claim they are not poor when asked, conscious that they might be interpreted as proud and conceited.
On the other hand, it is on the record that several houses had been damaged during the earthquake that hit Bohol in October 2013, a reason for the households to start rebuilding their homes.
It can be understood that the respondents could feel the impact of the calamities that hit the provinceâ€”the earthquake that destroyed thousands of houses, the effect of Supertyphoon Yolanda that destroyed the geothermal plant and transmission towers in Leyte which is the main source of power supply in Bohol.
The typhoons that affected the towns in December last year had been attributed by experts to climate change and natural pattern of weather disturbances.
During these difficult times, the provincial officials led in the relief operations.
It is also in the record that even before Yap became the agriculture secretary then congressman of third district and before Chatto became governor, Bohol had already been battling poverty as shown in the records at the provincial government.
Agriculture officials in Bohol also noted that the problem in agriculture and fishery can partly be attributed to the lack of new-generation farmers since the children of farmers who finished college tend to let their parents retire from farming.
The fact that farmers and fishermen had afforded their children college education is a concrete indicator that agriculture had succeeded in making lives better for the farmers.
Farmers who chose to continue tilling their lands had undertaken seminars and trainings for them to be able to embark on entrepreneurial farming, according to agriculture officials.
The Bohol Poll 2015 never stated the perception of poverty among the respondents to the incumbent provincial officials.
The actual poverty incidence in the province based on the indicators surveyed by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) has consistently decreased from 50.2 percent in 2000 to 40.3 percent in 2006, then to 36.6 percent in 2009, and to 30.6 percent in 2012.
Chatto had also reported that the magnitude of poor families over the same period had been in â€œa similar downward trendâ€.
â€œThe sustained trend of poverty reduction gives the province the reason to be optimistic. This is not to mention the fact that, as of 2012, Bohol was the most-improved province in Region VII in terms of poverty reduction, according to NEDA reports,â€ Chatto had earlier stated.
In fact, the Bohol Poll 2015 showed that 32 percent of the respondents expressed optimism that their lives would be better 12 months after, while only 22 percent are pessimistic.