SULU GOVERNOR Abdusakur M. Tan has asked the mayors, together with other local government unit (LGU) officials, to draft short- and long-term development plans for their respective areas. In a news release, the provincial government said the three-year plan, with a target budget of up to P1 billion per LGU, will be submitted to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) government for consideration in the annual allocation. In a meeting last Aug. 21, Mr. Tan told the local leaders to “submit early for this would ensure greater probability of inclusion of our proposal in the list of programs and projects in 2020.” The agreed deadline was end-September. The 10-year plan, on the other hand, will be consolidated and submitted as a provincial proposal to the Department of Public Works and Highways.

In the same meeting, Mr. Tan proposed that all local civil registrars start offering free registration services to help improve the province’s data. Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Provincial Director Medzhur Tan, in a presentation at the meeting, explained that poverty incidence in Sulu “is so high due to data inaccuracy.” Sulu, along with Basilan and Lanao del Sur, are the poorest provinces in the country. PSA’s Mr. Tan also pointed out that, “In addition, this disparity in data generation affects our access to programs or suitability of projects to address poverty.”