NSCB Launches NSIC in Cagayan de Oro City
(PR-200806-NS1-07, Posted 26 June 2008)
“To reach out to every sector in the society, for the delivery of statistical information and services produced by the Philippine Statistical System, in a manner responsive to the majority, at the earliest possible time, at the lowest possible cost and with the best quality attainable”. This is the mission statement of the National Statistical Information Center (NSIC) under the auspices of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) which formally launched another regional branch in Cagayan de Oro City on June 19, 2008.
During the launching, NSCB Secretary General Romulo A. Virola led the ribbon cutting ceremony and the unveiling of the NSCB and NSIC mission plates assisted by Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar S. Moreno and NEDA 10 Regional Director Rafael G. Evangelista as guests of honor. NSCB Director Lina V. Castro read the NSIC mission statement followed by the blessing of the newest NSIC and the new office of the NSCB Regional Division No. 10 by Rev. Fr. Roger Gabac as officiating priest.
NSCB Regional Division 10 Head Linnito M. Pascual introduced and acknowledged the guests composed of officials and representatives from government agencies, local government units, academe, and private companies based in Cagayan de Oro City during the luncheon program held at the Dynasty Court Hotel.
In his opening remarks, Secretary General Romulo A. Virola highlighted the fact that statistical information is the most important commodity among the knowledge-based economies of the third millennium. He said that statistics is important if we are to survive the many exciting but difficult challenges of the global economy. He stressed that statistical information is needed to measure progress of societies or lack thereof.
Secretary General Virola noted that Northern Mindanao is the largest economy in the entire Mindanao region and the third (3rd) fastest growing economy among the 17 regions of the country in 2006. On poverty situation, Dr. Virola said that Northern Mindanao improved between 2003 and 2006, even as poverty at the national level slightly went up. Among the 17 regions of the Philippines (including NCR), Northern Mindanao showed the 3rd best performance in reducing poverty. On governance, Virola reported that the NSCB has developed a Good Governance Index or GGI that assesses the effectiveness of LGU executives in various areas. He said that in 2003, Camiguin ranked 8th highest in the GGI among 79 provinces.
However, Dr. Virola also pointed out some statistics that should be a challenge to the leaders of Northern Mindanao. He mentioned that despite the reduction in poverty incidence in Region 10 between 2003 and 2006, only Bukidnon managed to reduce the magnitude of the poor among the provinces of Northern Mindanao. For the whole region, 285,054 families, or 1,663,283 individuals, were in fact, added to the magnitude of the poor. On education statistics, he stated that the country’s human capital has deteriorated over the years. The results of the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study or TIMMS, show that out of 45 countries, our students ranked 41st in Mathematics and 42nd in Science. In addition, he called attention to the fact that the participation rate in secondary public schools in Northern Mindanao declined from 51.95% during school year 2003-2004 to 37.27% in school year 2006-2007. This, he said is aggravated by the decline in completion rate in secondary public schools from 67.11% in SY 2003-2004 to 49.31% in SY 2006-2007.
Secretary General Virola urged the leaders and citizens of Northern Mindanao and the country as a whole to face these challenges. He said that the NSCB is doing its part by addressing this challenge through the establishment of NSIC which was conceptualized to facilitate the search for and use of statistical information by researchers, planners and decision makers. Through the NSIC, the NSCB hopes to be able to contribute its share towards enhancing and sustaining the competitiveness of the Philippines in the third millennium, by providing timely and relevant statistics needed for informed decisions and effective policies and programs.
On their part, Governor Moreno and Director Evangelista, underscored the relevance of statistics in development planning as they acknowledged the important role of a statistical information center that is easily accessible in their area of governance. Governor Moreno said that good decision makers must be well informed. He disclosed that he used statistics even when he was still in the private sector and more so now that he is working in the government. With the presence of NSIC in their area, data gathering will now be more convenient. He thanked the NSCB for this endeavor as It will surely enhance their knowledge and decision making. Governor Moreno accepted the challenge raised by Secretary General Virola and called upon concerned government agencies to do the necessary actions in response to alarming statistics reported by the NSCB. Meanwhile, Director Evagelista said that ever since the NSCB started its operation in Region 10, the NEDA has always been supportive of its undertakings. He added that the Regional Development Council believed in the establishment of the NSCB in their region, thus providing it the necessary assistance especially during its pioneering years. Now that an NSIC is fully operationalized in Cagayan de Oro City, he affirmed the strengthening of the partnership and cooperation between the NSCB and Northern Mindanao.
Meanwhile, OIC Director Candido J. Astrologo, Jr. of the NSIC Central Office in Makati City presented the products, services and facilities of the NSIC. He said that the as a one-stop shop of statistical products and services, the NSIC provides accurate, timely and relevant statistics. As a public service arm of the NSCB and the Philippine Statistical System (PSS), the NSIC offers frontline, library, bookshoppe, technical and marketing services in all of its regional branches nationwide such as in Baguio City (CAR), San Fernando City, La Union (Region I), Legaspi City (Region V), Iloilo City (Region VI), Tacloban City (Region VIII), Zamboanga City (Region IX), Davao City (Region XI) and Cotabato City (Region XII) and in its provincial branches in San Miguel, Guimaras, Bacolod City and San Jose, Antique.
The NSIC Region 10 is located at Door No. 8, Mortolo Bldg., J.R. Borja, Street, Cagayan de Oro City with telephone numbered (088) 858-1422 and email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Relatedly, a Joint Forum on Gender and Development Index and Poverty Statistics was held in the same venue after the NSIC launching. During the said forum organized by the NSCB, Director Astrologo presented the concepts and background of the Development of a Methodology and Estimation of Gender Development Index (GDI) at the Local Level Project. He enumerated the expected outputs of the said project being undertaken by the NSCB to include; 1) Methodology for producing provincial and city/municipal GDI; 2) Estimates and compilation of provincial GDI for all provinces and city/municipal GDI for at least five pilot provinces; and 3) Recommendations towards improvement of the local data system for the generation of the GDI. The GDI estimates are expected to be released this August 2008. The said project is funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) as implementing partner under the UNDP Programme “Achieving the MDGs and Reducing Human Poverty”.
Furthermore, the latest poverty statistics and other poverty related indicators were presented in the said forum by Ms.Jessamyn O. Encarnacion, Chief of the NSCB Social Sectors B Division. In her presentation, Ms. Encarnacion discussed an overview of the official poverty estimation methodology including the official source of poverty statistics, institutional arrangement in the computation of poverty statistics, schedule of release, and definition of terms, among others. She also reported the 2006 official poverty statistics, and identified some actual policy uses and other NSCB initiatives on poverty monitoring which were funded by UNDP and World Bank.The said forum was conducted as part of the advocacy activities of the NSCB to enhance its relevance among data users and producers and to solicit comments and recommendations from the participants.
ROMULO A. VIROLA
Mr. Ruben V. Litan
Telefax No.: (632) 890-8456