Assessment of the Development of the Five Southern Border Provinces Special Zone (20/04/2011)
An interesting assessment of results of the development of the five southern border provinces special zone shows that local families have earned more income and they now also place more trust in the Government.

The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board entrusted the Research and Administrative Center under Burapha University’s Graduate School of Public Administration with serving as advisor to the assessment of the development project for 2009-2012.

The assessment, which was made from March to April 2011, indicates that the project helps reduce suspicion among the local people in the five southern border provinces, namely Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Satun, and Songkhla. The Government in October 2009 launched the four-year project with a budget of 63 billion baht. Later, in June 2010, the Cabinet acknowledged an increase of the budget to 68.7 billion baht.

The project focuses on providing safety and security, ensuring justice, restoring confidence in the Government, generating more income and employment, improving local people’s quality of life, developing human resources, stabilizing the local economy, and promoting international cooperation. A target has been set to increase income for poor families from an average of about 60,000 baht a year in 2009 to not less than 120,000 baht a year by 2012.

According to the assessment, based on about 4,000 questionnaires, the project enabled local families to increase their income from 60,371 baht in 2009 to 68,105 baht in 2010 on average. Most respondents to the survey, at 56.68 percent, said that they feel more confident in the safety of their life and property because of a decline in violence and an increase in the number of officials and volunteers posted there.

The assessment indicated that most people in the survey, at 68.32 percent, have placed more trust in the operations of government officials, since officials have reached out and provided assistance to them on a continual basis.

Most surveyed people, at 76.08 percent, see an increase in unity and empowerment of members of villages and communities from the implementation of projects that encourage people to get together for working continually.

Almost 44 percent said that the improvement of the Government’s primary healthcare program provides people with greater access to standard public health services, while 42.55 percent indicated that local families and communities have become more strengthened, because young people do not have to migrate to work elsewhere and more activities have been carried out in each locality. Almost 68 percent said that the Government’s policy concerning the southern border provinces has enabled local people to help themselves better.

The results of the assessment reflect the wisdom of the path by the Government in dealing with various problems in the deep South. They also help boost the morale of officials responsible for the development of the five southern border provinces special zone.

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