THE POOR will always be with us, but in Eastern Samar, the number of people living below the poverty line has been on a steady decline in the past decade. And while Eastern Samar was once a perennial member of the so-called ‘Club 20’ (which is made up of the country’s 20 poorest provinces), it’s now not only out of that list, but is also doing better than other provinces in Eastern Visayas.

Location Map of Eastern SamarApparently, Eastern Samar was able to do this using a multi-pronged approach to development that addressed economic as well as social concerns, partly by concentrating on achieving targets set in the Millennium Development Goals. That the province seems to have enjoyed a steady flow of funds from foreign donors and aid agencies is surely an important factor in its success, writes contributor Vicente Alejandro in the latest piece in i Report‘s current series on good local governance.

But he also quotes Provincial Planning and Development Officer Henry Afable as saying, “Maybe one of the reasons why (donors keep on coming) to Eastern Samar — aside from the fact that there is a need to help us — is because of our track record in using their funds.”

It could also be because projects go on despite a constant change in provincial chief executives. In the last decade, Eastern Samar has had four governors, but programs started in one administration are not abandoned by the next, unlike in other places. And so as a result, most Eastern Samar towns now have potable water, the province has more than 500 schools, and cement farm-to-market roads have eased travel and boosted business.

Read more about hardy and determined Eastern Samar at pcij.org.

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