₧3.8-B pandemic-proofed census starts Sept

- Cai U. Ordinario

THE Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has spent P3.8 billion for a pandemic-proofed census of population and housing that will be conducted next month. In a press briefing on Thursday, National Statistici­an Claire Dennis S. Mapa said the results of the 2020 Census of Population and Housing (CPH) will be presented to the President in the second quarter of next year. This year, due to the pandemic, faceto-face interviews and self-administer­ed questionna­ires (SAQ) are no longer the only data-collection means that PSA will employ. Filipinos can now opt to answer the survey questionna­ires via Paper-assisted Telephone Interview (PATI), or the Computer-assisted Web Interview (CAWI). “The total budget is around P3.8 billion. We [made] adjustment­s on the expenditur­es side, such as the purchase of face masks, face shields and alcohol [which were] not planned before. However, a number of trainings were done online creating savings to cover the additional expenditur­es,” Mapa told the Businessmi­rror. Mapa said starting September 1, PSA’S enumerator­s will conduct house-to-house visits to conduct the survey personally or to ask household heads how they wish to answer the survey questionna­ire, which is 8 pages long and contained 53 items. The entire survey can be completed in 15 to 30 minutes. He assured the public that every visit by enumerator­s will be coordinate­d with local government units (LGUS), including barangay officials, to ensure the safety of both the PSA personnel and the households. Mapa said enumerator­s have been trained not only to conduct the survey but also observe minimum health standards

which include wearing face masks and face shields, as well as observing social and physical distancing. “The 53 items can be answered even if our enumerator­s only stay at the gate of houses. They do not need to enter the homes. In fact, we don’t want our enumerator­s to enter houses when doing the survey,” Mapa said. The National Statistici­an also said if certain areas are on strict lockdown, the PSA can either return there once the lockdown is lifted or make the other options of accomplish­ing the survey forms available to the affected households. Mapa said their coordinati­on with LGUS also helped them finance the swab tests of their enumerator­s. He explained that since Covid-19 was not factored in the budget for the census, they did not have additional funding for these exigencies. However, he said they had to make adjustment­s in their spending and many LGUS were generous enough to have the enumerator­s tested. Apart from these, Mapa said the PSA had to hire enumerator­s to conduct the survey. In previous censuses, the PSA usually employs public-school teachers to conduct the survey since the original schedule of the census is the whole month of May. However, given the ongoing pandemic, the PSA had to move the census and hire 140,783 enumerator­s, supervisor­s and area supervisor­s to conduct the decade census. These include 113,364 enumerator­s; 22,672 supervisor­s to handle the enumerator­s; and 4,747 area supervisor­s. “Among the data to be gathered are sex, age, marital status, education, religion, ethnicity, disability, occupation, and records of birth and death. Informatio­n on main sources of water, electricit­y, fuel resources, housing units, garbage disposal, toilet facility, ICT devices, vehicles, and Internet access will also be collected,” PSA said. Mapa added that the situation of households during the pandemic will also be included in the survey.

Truthful answers

THE Implementi­ng Rules and Regulation­s (IRR) of RA 10625 or the Philippine Statistica­l Act of 2013 states under Rule 29 that respondent­s in surveys must provide “truthful and complete answers” to the PSA and other statistica­l offices of the Philippine Statistica­l System (PSS). It bars the PSA from divulging “the name, address and telephone numbers; the business and products that they are engaged in; and the specific ranges of number of employees.” Under Rule 30 of the IRR, individual­s who violate Rule 29 face 1 year imprisonme­nt and a fine of P100,000. Companies that violate this will be fined anywhere between P100,000 to P500,000. Any person caught divulging confidenti­al informatio­n from the PSA will be fined P5,000 to P10,000 and face jail time of three to 12 months. Failure to complete with survey clearance provision will also be fined P50,000 to P100,000, depending on the gravity of noncomplia­nce.

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