Zamboanga del Norte
Pride and Poverty
By Alex Tizon
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
Knight Fellow, International Center for Journalists
DIPOLOG, ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE: I was expecting a city of shanties. A sprawling ghetto. A legion of beggars stumbling around a sagging town square. But I found none of these things in Dipolog City, the capital of Zamboanga del Norte, said to be the poorest province in the Philippines.
What I found instead during a recent visit to this city of 120,000 in western Mindanao was a prim, progressive place, full of bustle and ambition, and a fair number of residents mystified by their province’s number-one ranking on the poverty list.
|About the Province
Zamboanga del Norte is a province in the Zamboanga Peninsula Region. It is bounded by the Sulu Sea on the north and west, and east by Misamis Oriental. It has a population of 823,130 and an annual growth rate of 1.42 percent in 2000. It is one of the most populated provinces in the region.
The province posted the highest poverty incidence at 64.6 percent among the 25 provinces in Mindanao in 2003. It also had the largest increase in poverty incidence from 47.0 percent. The poorest province in 2000, it became the poorest province in the country in 2003, outranking Masbate in the Bicol Region.
Zamboanga del Norte has a human development index value of .532, ranking 63rd among 79 provinces in 2000.
• Poorest province in the country (2003)
Millennium Development Goals
Countryside in Figures
The Money Trail