Usec. Bersales congratulates ARMM for a job well done

May 28, 2018News Article Ref No.: NL-ARMM-18-020
Usec. Bersales, together with some PSA officials and employees, meets Atty. Alamia and Engr. Ampatuan of ARMM.
Usec. Lisa Grace S. Bersales, the National Statistician and Civil Registrar General of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), congratulated the government of ARMM for the very promising result of the recently conducted 2017 Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) Estimation. PSA Team, headed by Usec. Bersales, was received by Atty. Laisa M. Alamia, Executive Secretary to the Office of the Regional Governor (ORG-ARMM) and Engr. Baintan A. Ampatuan, Executive Director of the Regional Planning and Development Office (RPDO-ARMM) during their courtesy visit to the ORG-ARMM last April 25, 2018 at Bajau Hall, ORG-ARMM, Cotabato City. Regional Governor Mujiv S. Hataman was not able to attend this meeting due to equally important commitments. Usec. Bersales was with Ms. Vivian R. Ilarina, Assistant National Statistician of the Macroeconomic Accounts Service of PSA Central Office; Dr. Abubakar S. Asaad, Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Statistical Methodology Unit under the Office of the National Statistician of the PSA; Mr. Razulden A. Mangelen, OIC of the Regional Statistical Services Office of ARMM; Mr. Naldo G. Pendaliday, OIC of the Statistical Operations and Coordination Division (SOCD) of PSA-ARMM; Chief Statistical Specialists/OIC of PSA-ARMM Provincial Offices; and other PSA personnel during this meeting.
 
PSA Team did not announce the exact result of the 2017 GRDP estimation during this meeting as this shall be simultaneously reported at exactly 10 AM on April 26, 2018 in the whole country. Nevertheless, Usec. Bersales was glad to inform Atty. Alamia and Engr. Ampatuan that the collaborative efforts of the ARMM line agencies during the collection of administrative data had an outcome that is beyond everyone’s expectation.
 
Despite the strict policy on the submission of data imposed to the line agencies, Atty. Alamia believes that the products and services of ARMM are not yet completely accounted in this year’s GRDP estimation. OIC-RD Mangelen agreed to this and discussed about the concept of “production” used by PSA, particularly in the estimation of fisheries production. According to him, the point of landing of commodities is considered in accounting for fisheries. Thus resources extracted from Sulu Sea will still be accounted as products of Region IX if landed in Zamboanga City.
 
ANS Ilarina said that changing PSA’s concept of production from point of landing to point of origin will not be easy, since it is harder to verify the source of commodities. Besides, it is already based on the international standards of statistics. Thus she suggested that ARMM government should instead implement fish landing projects in the island provinces with established trading policies to encourage local fishermen land and market their commodities in ARMM.
 
The weak implementation of policy on the issuance of building permits among the local government units (LGUs) was also highlighted even during the Regional Statistics Committee (RSC-ARMM) Regular Meeting. Officials believe that the data on the contribution of construction to the GRDP of ARMM is underestimated. As discussed during the RSC-ARMM meeting, the committee will be requesting the ORG-ARMM to issue a resolution requiring the LGUs to strictly implement this policy not just for data collection but also for income generation.
 
Usec. Bersales mentioned that PSA will soon be applying the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) in the country. The agency understands that income is not enough as an indicator to completely reflect the actual poverty status of a population. Usec. Bersales tasked Dr. Asaad to study the possibility of piloting this new method in ARMM given the distinct characteristics of the region.
 
Atty. Alamia and Engr. Ampatuan also shared that ARMM through its special programs (HELPS, HEART, and BRIDGE) has been concentrating on the mitigation of poverty among the poorest families in the region. The officials shared to PSA the different priority projects implemented by each special program. Usec. Bersales had explained during the previous meetings that income responds slowly to these kinds of programs. Thus ARMM is confident that the MPI will be able provide a better description of what the ARMM government is really doing.
 
Before concluding the meeting, Usec. Bersales thanked ARMM for being a very supportive data partner. She hopes that ARMM will continue this well-established coordination for OIC-RD Mangelen’s leadership. Lastly, Usec. Bersales invited the officials of ARMM to attend the 2017 GRDP Press Conference on the following day.