4 statistics offices to be merged–exec

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 July)—Officials expect the Philippine Statistical Act of 2012, which seeks to harmonize the data collection and compilation by different government agencies, to become a law anytime soon.

The passage of House Bill 6229 last month will integrate the National Statistics Office (NSO), National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) and Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) under the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

“We are only waiting for the President’s [Benigno Aquino III] approval, “ said NSO Administrator Carmelita Ericta during Thursday’s release of the 2012 Report on the Regional Economy of Davao Region at the Department of Social Welfare and Development XI office.

The bill, one of the priority measures of the Aquino administration, was passed by the Upper and Lower Houses last June 6, according to the Senate’s website.

However, a bill may become a law, even without the President’s signature, if the President does not sign a bill within 30 days from receipt in his office.

Jose Ramon Albert, NSCB secretary general, said the merger is supposed to provide “a stronger, single agency that would meet the needs of the public at large since the staff of the new office will come from each of the different offices.”

Ericta also said that along with the integration is the creation of regional and provincial statistics offices.

Once the bill is approved, the PSA head will be called the “National Statistician.”

Ericta said that candidates for the position will undergo a screening process and the President will then choose from the list.

The bill also seeks the transformation of the Statistical Research and Training Center (SRTC) into the Philippine Statistical Research and Training Institute (PSRTI). The new agency will be attached to NEDA for purposes of policy coordination.

Gervacio Selda Jr., SRTC executive director, said the new agency is supposed to provide a “more accurate and more centralized data collection processing.” (Florienne Melendrez/MindaNews)