NSO-12 undergoes verification of population, housing data

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/9 Oct) – The National Statistics Office in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region has stepped up the verification of the population and housing data of various localities in the region in a bid to address possible discrepancies.

Lawyer Maqtahar Manulon, NSO Region 12 director, said they are currently conducting spot checking and physical inspections in several parts of the region to specifically verify anew and establish the accuracy of the 2010 Census of Population and Housing results in the area.

“We’re doing this to come up with the most accurate and reliable data for the region,” he said in a press conference.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Manulon said that aside from physical verification, they were also verifying the count through the use of computer application Google Earth.

Google Earth is a popular virtual globe, map and geographical information program that maps the Earth by the superimposition of images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and geographic information system or GIS three-dimensional globe.

The official said the agency has opened its communication lines to individuals or groups that may want to report any discrepancy or irregularity regarding the population count.

He said concerned parties may call up their offices regarding problems with the count and they will immediately verify or act on them.

“This is a priority endeavor and rest assured that NSO will address all population count problems with dispatch,” said Manulon, who heads the Regional Development Council-12’s Regional Statistical Coordinating Committee.

In the event they find some discrepancies with a locality’s statistical data, he said the agency will immediately work for their reversal and proper correction.

The official cited the case of a congressional district in Luzon wherein a local court ruled its dissolution due to discrepancies with its population data that eventually made it ineligible based on the minimum population requirement.

He said such ruling, which was mainly influenced by the NSO’s findings, was later upheld by the Supreme Court.

“It is important to correct the statistical discrepancies since they would only create problems later on in terms of the delivery of services to an affected area or locality as what we’ve experienced in the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) area,” he said.

Manulon said that due to “bogus” statistical findings, the accomplishment of targets of some government programs in parts of the ARMM was earlier hampered.

“How can you realistically assess a program’s progress or impact if, for example, you set a target of 100,000 beneficiaries but your actual population count is only 60,000? This was a typical problem in ARMM and in some other areas that we’re trying to eliminate right now,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)