Senator Chiz Escudero lauded the Palace endorsement of the bill reorganizing the Philippine Statistical System (PSS) as priority legislation, saying this will help policymakers to map out a national development program.

Senate Bill No. 103 (SBN 103), principally authored by Escudero, aims to overhaul the outdated data collection and storage system of the country to make it at par with the country’s neighbors in the region. No less than President Benigno Aquino III has endorsed it for congressional action.

Escudero praised the President for recognizing the importance of establishing a state organization, which will be primarily responsible for all national surveys and act as a central data bank for national accounts.

“Statistics and information has become the lifeline in policy-making the world over. We must be at par with our neighboring countries, if not the world, to be equipped with vital and current information on world trade, events and trends,” Escudero said.

“More than that of course, the country must fully know itself, its demographics, resources, capabilities, skills and potentials as a state to aid our policymakers in deciding for our development as a nation and as a race. The country has to arm itself with the ability to know its necessities at present and options for the future,” Escudero explained.

The PSS is currently a decentralized, government-wide system of providing statistical information and services to the public.

Its present system bears a very tall structure with majority of its resources performing administrative functions. With the overhauled system, the PSS shall be independent, efficient and competent agency, the senator said.

In the government, the only agencies that produce statistics as their primary functions are the National Statistics Office (NSO), Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) and Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLAS).

The proposed Statistics Philippines (STATPHIL) will be attached to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for easy policy coordination and collaboration. A national statistician will be in charge of the administration of the office.

The development of a comprehensive and integrated research and training program for the newly overhauled system will be the responsibility of the statistical research and training institute, which will be established simultaneously with STATPHIL.