Luzon areas score highest HDIs, Mindanao lowest
Provinces with the highest HDI scores are all in Luzon while 9 out of 10 provinces with the lowest ones are from Mindanao

MANILA, Philippines – Provinces with the highest human development index (HDI) scores are all in Luzon, while 9 out of 10 provinces with the lowest levels are from Mindanao. 

These were among the findings of the Human Development Report (HDR) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched Monday, July 29.

The HDR measures the Human Development Index (HDI), which assesses factors such as per capita income, years of schooling, public spending, health, and others included in the measurement of human development.

The following is a quick summary of the 2013 HDI scores:

  • Top 10 Provinces with highest HDI levels: Benguet, Batanes, Rizal, Cavite, Bulacan, Bataan, Laguna, N.Vizcaya, Ilocos Norte and Pampanga
  • Bottom 10 in HDI: Lanao del Sur, Masbate, Zamboanga del Norte, Sarangani,Davao Oriental, Agusan del Sur, Zamboanga, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, Sulu
  • On average, HDI of top 10 provinces is twice that of 10 bottom provinces.
  • Most improved provinces in terms of HDI from 1987-2009: Benguet, Biliran, Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya, and Catanduanes
  • Biggest losers in HDI: Davao Oriental, Maguindanao, Batangas, Zamboanga del Norte, Quezon, Basilan, Laguna, Rizal, Tawi-Tawi, and Batanes

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City-centric development

The United Nations’s global development network said the Philippines needs to move away from its “city-centric” development trajectory to address the big gap between the economic and social status in urban and rural lives.

At the launch of the HDR, Toshihiro Tanaka, the country director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), stressed the importance of devolving more powers to the local governments.

“Future legislation is clearly needed to change the current city-centric emphasis of devolution and to redefine the powers of local governments,” he said in a speech.

“No serious geographical obstacles to human development can never be addressed without giving full rein to province-level planning fiscal responsibility,” he added.

Emmanuel de Dios, the head of the 2013 HDR team in the Philippines, acknowledged that “human development” in the Philippines shows “great disparities,” citing the results of the latest survey. –

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