House adopts Senate bill setting up databases for social safety net

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Job Applicants during the Labor day job fair in Quezon City. -- PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

THE House of Representatives has adopted a Senate bill establishing a system for a more targeted implementation of the government’s social protection programs.

Senate Bill No. 2172, or the “Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) Act,” will authorize local government units (LGUs) to coordinate with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and other agencies to gather data at the community level. The measure was approved by the Senate on third reading on Feb. 4.

The bill will be endorsed for signing by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, as its adoption by the House eliminates the need to convene the bicameral conference committee.

If enacted, the measure will also create the CBMS Council composed of the PSA, Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

The CBMS will serve as an “economic and social tool towards the formulation and implementation of poverty alleviation and development programs,” which shall be instituted in cities and municipalities.

Cities and municipalities are to employ statisticians, while the PSA will be authorized to create additional positions for statisticians at the provincial level.

The PSA will lead the implementation of the CBMS and set standards, develop and review data collected as well as capacitate LGUs in data collection.

The DICT is to develop data-sharing arrangements, while the DILG is tasked to publicize activities of the CBMS.

The bill will also require conduct of regular and synchronized data gathering every three years, to be collated and stored in a national CBMS databank.

The measure also provides participants a right to privacy, with their consent required for a city or municipality authorized to disclose identities.

The CBMS databank is intended for use in developing “timely, relevant and much-needed social protection programs of government in areas identified to have the highest incidence of poverty.”

The measure classifies as priority areas cities and municipalities under the fourth, fifth and sixth class in the first three years of implementation. — Charmaine A. Tadalan