The Department of Agriculture (DA) may find it difficult to reactivate the Bureau of Agriculture Statistics (BAS) as its return would require the amendment of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) charter.
This was according to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan who said it might be more advantageous for the DA to create a statistics unit within the agency to generate data.
On his first day in office, newly appointed Department of Agriculture Secretary (DA) Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said he is planning to reactivate the BAS to manage data on production and demand amid over-importation issues on agricultural products. (https://businessmirror.com.ph/2023/11/07/tiu-laurel-bares-plan-to-reactivate-das-bas/).
“Kung yung agency na nag-iimplement ng sariling program, yan na din ang gagamitin mong data for your income accounts, how sure are you that [the data is above board]? Kailangan independent, there is science to follow,” Balisacan said.
“Yung pag-collect ng data ng agency, depende sa requirements kung ano ang gusto nila makita. Yung pag-collect ng data ng statistics agency, iba yun. Gusto mo representative nationally, kung may regional breakdown, gusto mo representative at the regional level, not necessarily na nagtutugma yun sa interes ng agency at statistical system,” he explained.
The BAS is one of the four agencies that were merged to create the PSA. The three other agencies include the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES), which was under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The two other agencies, former attached agencies of the Neda, were the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).
Part of the reasons for the creation of the PSA through the merger of the four agencies aimed to give rise to an independent statistical agency not directly involved in the management and implementation of certain agency-related projects.
Nonetheless, Balisacan said strengthening the data capacity of agencies like the DA through the creation of a unit within the agency would be beneficial and would help improve the country’s data ecosystem.
“I don’t see any conflict because in the first place any organization, any department should have strong data for their administrative and management purposes. The data that we collect in PSA are very different data. They are the data that we need to compile the National Income Accounts, not sensitive to the requirements of DA,” Balisacan said.
On Monday, Tiu Laurel was asked how he would address the issue of over-importation of meats and poultry products. The Agriculture chief said he would have to look at the data of production versus demand.
“The problem right now is medyo incomplete ‘yung data that is available. ‘Yung data natin hindi ganun ka-accurate. I’m not blaming anybody on this,” Tiu Laurel said at a media briefing in Quezon City on Monday.
Tiu Laurel had been appointed as the new secretary of the DA by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. last Friday.
As the new head of the Agriculture department, Tiu Laurel stressed that “one of the major things that I have to do from the start is to bring back, if possible ‘yung Bureau of Agricultural Statistics so that we will have accurate data.”
He also emphasized, “I’m not for importation. I am pro-production,” adding that he was a producer in his “past life.”