15 February 2007

Where are the other Bikol provinces?

IN TONIGHT'S edition of TV Patrol World, National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) Secretary General Romulo Virola took the spotlight with his good governance ranking of Philippine provinces.

This impelled me to immediately log on and check the NSCB website, leading to this page provocatively titled "Governance Statistics: Who Should We Vote For in the May 14 Elections?

The seven tables in Virola's piece contained the top 30 provinces in economic and administrative governance for 2003 and the top 30 most improved provinces in both categories. Combined, these indices yielded the top 30 and most improved provinces in good governance.

Unfortunately, of Bikol's six provinces, only Catanduanes (16th and 24th most improved in economic and good governance, respectively), Masbate (25th most improved in economic governance) and Sorsogon (28th most improved in administrative governance) figured in Virola's lists.

Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Albay on the other hand are missing. Which is somewhat strange considering that all are in Luzon mainland -- and therefore more physically accessible -- and the last two are the region's biggest and most moneyed LGUs. This made me check again the data from my poverty series, and surprisingly, Catanduanes (clearly the top regional performer) has the lowest annual income among all six.

Virola's final finding is most depressing:

We...came up with a Voters’ Index that provides indication on the “wisdom” of voters during elections – whether they are voting for the best and the best performing and booting out the worst and the worst performing. Table 7 confirms that, indeed, the Pinoy voters have not matured. The Voters’ Index for the best and best performing provinces is relatively high, meaning that voters reelect candidates whose provinces do well. However, the Voters’ Index for the worst and worst performing provinces is low, meaning that candidates whose provinces do badly in the GGI get reelected just the same.
This coming election, I think, will not be any different.