PSA needs P30.48  billion to fund six-year statistics program

The national government needs to spend some P30.48 billion to implement existing and new statistical programs in the next six years, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Under the Philippine Statistical Development Program (PSDP) 2018 to 2023, National Statistician Lisa Grace Bersales told the BusinessMirror on Thursday that the PSA has yet to identify where the funding will be sourced.

Bersales, however, said she believes only a portion of the amount, around P2 billion to P3 billion a year, will be financed by the national budget. The amount will cover core surveys,  such as the Family Income and Expenditure Survey, Census of Population and Housing, and Labor Force Survey, among others.

“In my opinion, the core surveys should really come from GAA [General Appropriations Act] like the censuses and the surveys of the PSA, because in my personal opinion, we should be proudly saying that the government has funding for data for its policies,” Bersales said.

Bersales added that the PSA Board, chaired by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, instructed PSA to craft implementing rules and regulations to identify the funding mechanisms for the PSDP.

Based on the presentation by PSA Assistant National Statistician Candido J. Astrologo Jr. on Thursday, the amount will cover over 900 statistical development programs.

Over a third or 30.3 percent will be used for population and housing statistics; some 20 percent will be used for agriculture and agrarian reform statistics; 14.5 percent will be spent on data for environment and natural resource statistics; 11.7 percent for other data; and 10.4 percent for industry, trade and investment statistics.

The data that will be created under PSDP 2018 to 2023 will help address 162 of the 232 data requirements for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 394 of the 503 data needed to ensure the country’s meets its Philippine Development Plan (PDP) targets.

Further, the majority of the data, or 63.7 percent or 596 statistical development programs, are considered high priority, while 20.1 percent or 188 statistical development programs have no prioritization.

Around 14.6 percent or 137 statistical development programs have a medium priority,  while 1.6 percent or 15 statistical development programs have low priority.

Bersales said that what can help keep PSDP costs down are efforts to innovate, particularly in the use of administrative data that are currently available.

These administrative data are readily available and provide information about Filipinos’ education levels, which can be obtained from school records or tourist arrivals, which can be obtained from immigration cards.

“We just have to do a quality assessment, enforce a quality framework to make sure that all of these admin forms are appropriately filled up with exactly the same time frame,  because we noted [that] sometimes, the administrative data, you cannot have the same timeframe,” Bersales said.

Meanwhile, Pernia said the PSDP will also address data requirements internationally, such as the Core Regional Indicators, Big Data, the SDGs and various statistical commitments, including the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data and the Asian and Pacific Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Decade.

Pernia said the biggest challenge for the PSDP is in meeting the data requirements to monitor the PDP. This has mandated the PSA to release an annual report in keeping with the results matrixes of the PDP.

With this, Pernia and Bersales disclosed that the PSDP’s release is accompanied by a draft Executive Order that will mandate all agencies to implement the plans and programs in the PSDP.

“With the challenges faced by the Philippine Statistical System brought about by rapid change in technology, emerging demands for various indicators, compliance to the country’s international commitments and the dynamics in the international statistics community, it is crucial that each sector understands its roles in the production, dissemination and use of statistics,” Pernia said.

“As the chairman of the PSA Board, I commit to ensure that the PSDP will achieve its vision of having a solid, responsive and innovative Statistical System for an empowered Philippines by 2023. I will see to it that the statistical development programs are implemented on schedule, within the budgets, and that these programs produce better statistics needed for better policy-making and making lives better,” he added.

The PSDP contains statistical programs and activities in the Philippine Statistical System (PSS) to inform the PDP, SDGs and Asean Integration, among others.

It places a greater focus on improving local level statistics, administrative data, registers, open data initiatives, big data, data revolution and other emerging concerns.

 

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A professional journalist for over a decade, Cai U. Ordinario currently writes macroeconomic and urban development stories for BusinessMirror. She has received awards for excellence in reporting on the macroeconomy and statistics. She was also cited for her contribution to statics reporting by the National Statistical Coordination Board (now the Philippine Statistics Authority). She is a recipient of journalism fellowships including the Jefferson Fellowship from the Honolulu-based East West Center. She is currently completing her Masters degree in Communication at the University of the Philippines. She graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Arts Major in Journalism from the University of Santo Tomas.