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THE EVOLUTION OF THE PHILIPPINE STATISTICAL SYSTEM*

CONTENTS
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Introduction The Philippine Statistical System Through the Years The Present Statistical System Recent Initiatives of the Philippine Statistical System Lessons Learned, Challenges and Opportunities

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* Philippine country paper prepared by the National Statistical Coordination Board and disseminated during the Seminar on the Evolution of National Statistical Systems organized by the United Nations Statistics Division in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations Statistical Commission held on 23 February 2007 in New York, USA.

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THE EVOLUTION OF THE PHILIPPINE STATISTICAL SYSTEM COUNTRY PAPER By The National Statistical Coordination Board, Philippines1 1. INTRODUCTION This country paper presents the history and existing features of the Philippine Statistical System (PSS). It also articulates the system’s recent initiatives as well as the lessons learned through the years and the challenges and opportunities currently faced by the system. The Philippines is one of many countries with a decentralized statistical system. The PSS has evolved through several stages in response to the prevailing political, economic and social policies of the government. The emphasis on development planning in later years led to the creation of research and statistics divisions in existing departments to provide for their data and information needs. As a result, a decentralized system emerged whereby statistical services are managed and supervised by the respective agencies with overall coordination by a national body. The present PSS is the result of a comprehensive review of the system that was undertaken in 1986 by a multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral committee constituted by the Philippine government. The review was also undertaken in line with a government-wide reorganization which saw the need for necessary and proper changes in the bureaucracy in order to promote efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of public services. The recommendations of the committee, which recognized the need to maintain a decentralized statistical system characterized by independence, objectivity, and integrity to make it more responsive to the requirements of national development, provided the basis for the reorganization of the PSS in 1987. Its mission is to provide timely, accurate and useful statistics for the government and the public, especially for planning and decision making. With the inadequate resources and other constraints, the PSS continues to seek for alternative measures and strategies toward responding to the current and emerging demands of the various clientele and stakeholders. The PSS also continues to effect improvements in its capacity to provide quality statistical products and services. Likewise, it recognizes the need to conform to international standards, comparisons and practices, and it provides support and cooperation to the statistical endeavors of the international community.

Dr. Romulo A. Virola is the Secretary General of the National Statistical Coordination Board, Philippines (ra.virola@nscb.gov.ph).

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2. THE PHILIPPINE STATISTICAL SYSTEM THROUGH THE YEARS2 Government statistical activities in the country have gone a long way from the Spanish regime to the present statistical system. From the simple attempts of the Spanish monarchy to collect information on the country and its resources, the PSS has evolved to become a decentralized system with a strong coordinating body to serve the more complex needs of policy formulation and decision making. The following were the significant developments in the country’s statistical system at various periods and stages. 2.1 Spanish Regime (1571 – 1898) During the Spanish regime, there was no regular and systematic data collection in the country except in the later years of the colonial period. Information on the people, villages,...
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