COTABATO CITY - The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) conducted a forum here recently on the update of the 2011-2017 Philippine Statistical Development Program (PSDP) and strengthened its partnership with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) through active communication and coordination.
Atty. Laisa Alamia, ARMM Executive Secretary, said Gov. Mujiv Hataman was delighted with the presence of the PSA at the region’s seat. She said Gov. Hataman is optimistic that with the help of the PSA, ARMM can set its direction, thrust and priorities in strengthening statistical development in the region.
The mere presence of PSA in the city, Sec. Alamia added, signals that ARMM is now getting timely and relevant data on the different sectors of the region. Prior to the Hataman administration, there has been no established communication between the PSA and the regional government, she said.
During the forum, PSA’s civil registrar general Lisa Grace Bernales said there is gradual decline in poverty incidence in the region, but the figure is lower than what was expected by the ARMM regional government. Based on data covering 2014-2015, poverty incidence in the region was estimated at 48.2% close to figures monitored in previous years.
“The basis of our poverty statistics is income, and incomes of households respond very slowly to the interventions; but I feel that it’s a good start,” said Bersales. “Poverty statistics is the most controversial because poverty is multi-dimensional, very complex situation, and our official poverty statistics for now focuses on one dimension, which is income.”
“The government interventions, to trickle down to household level income, take much time and this is the reason for the disappointment sometimes of our local government on the poverty statistics that we release,” Bersales added.
In recognition of this, Bersales said the PSA listens and knows the needs of their partners and try to address these needs as much as possible. “We hope to develop multi-dimensional statistics which will capture the improvements in health and education, not just the income statistics,” she said.
PSA-ARMM regional director Abubakar Asaad stressed the importance of data in the regional government’s planning. The PSDP activity here was described as a regional dissemination forum that also provided updates on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for both the ARMM and Soccsksargen, or Region 12.
During the forum, Candido Astrologo, assistant national statistician, discussed highlights of the PSDP, while Wilma Guillen, assistant national statistician for the social sector statistics service, provided the overview for the SDGs.
Engr. Baintan Ampatuan, executive director of the ARMM Regional Planning and Development Office, as well as Atty. Maqtahar Manulon, regional director of PSA-Soccsksargen, were also present in the event.
As of latest official statistics, ARMM has a total population of 3,781,387 in 116 municipalities, and 2,490 barangays. From 2014 to 2015, the region registered an economic growth of 5.3% in terms of Gross Regional Domestic Product. (Bureau of Public Information)