SENATE Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri filed a bill creating a consolidated poverty data collection (CPDC) system that will serve as the basis for targeting beneficiaries of the government’s poverty alleviation programs.
Senate Bill No. 2132, filed on Dec. 10, seeks to institute a poverty data collection system in every local government unit (LGU) with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) as the lead national agency in charge.
Under the bill, LGUs will serve as the primary data collecting authority within their jurisdiction. LGUs also must designate a statistician to collect, preserve, and safekeep the data retained at the city or municipal level.
Meanwhile, the PSA is tasked with setting standards for the data collection process and to serve as the national repository of all poverty data collected by LGUs.
The PSA will also upgrade the capacity of LGUs in the collection of data through the Philippine Statistical Research and Training Institute, in collaboration with state universities and colleges.
The bill also directs the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to “develop institutional arrangements on data sharing.”
Provinces may access the poverty data within their jurisdiction. National government agencies, on the other hand, may request PSA for specific data to be used for their own social protection and welfare programs.
The proposed measure also ensures the confidentiality of information collected by the government. Both the LGUs and PSA are required to undertake measures to ensure the integrity and safety of the data.
Respondents involved in the data collection will have the option to authorize the LGU to disclose their identity and other personal information. They may also refuse to answer questions at any point of the data collection activities.
The bill requires the LGU to collect poverty data every three years during the first six years of the program’s implementation. After six years, annual data collection is prescribed.
In his explanatory note, Mr. Zubiri said the bill will help government carry out comprehensive poverty analysis and design appropriate policies and interventions.
“The data will provide the evidence base to ensure that policies are timely, well-targeted, and effective for the poor and most vulnerable,” he said.
The bill also constitutes a joint congressional oversight committee that will review the implementation of the program.
It also provides a one-year transition period from the effectivity of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for national government agencies currently collecting poverty data for their respective social protection programs until PSA takes over.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has its own information management system that identifies who and were the poor are in the country called the Listahanan or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction. Beneficiaries of the government’s conditional cash transfer program and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s universal health care program are selected from the Listahanan. — Camille A. Aguinaldo