THE Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will resume data collection operations starting this week, including work on the national ID, after its employees secured exemptions from quarantine protocols during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

PSA Chief Claire Dennis S. Mapa said the PSA’s regular reports will be released as scheduled with the resumption of data gathering and survey activity.

“We got an exemption to continue with our data collection needed to report the CPI (consumer price index), agricultural surveys and labor force survey (LFS) for the April round. LFS will start on April 20. CPI and agriculture surveys will be from April 15 to 30,” Mr. Mapa said in a mobile phone message Sunday.

In a briefing, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said Sunday that the exemption also allows PSA to resume activity on the national ID system subject to accepted distancing protocols.

“The PSA shall be allowed to operate at a capacity necessary to conduct data gathering and survey activities related to COVID-19, including those related to the registration and the implementation of the national identification system of the national ID, provided that such exemptions shall be without prejudice to the requirement of strict social distancing measures in all of its operations and data gathering services and activities,” Mr. Nograles said.

Mr. Mapa said the PSA adopted guidelines on distancing for its field employees that conform to the rules set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“Moreover, we will make use of several mechanisms to collect the data and limit the face to face interviews and encourage phone interviews, answering the questions online or through e-mail, while maintaining our representative sample,” he added.

According to PSA’s calendar of data releases, April CPI data will be released on May 5, agriculture data for the first quarter with a new base year of 2018 will be issued May 6, while the results of the April LFS survey will be up on June 5.

Mr. Mapa said earlier that first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) will be released on May 7 as planned. Meanwhile, the time series of GDP from 2000 to 2019 using the new 2018 base year is set for publication on April 21.

Prior to the lockdown, Mr. Mapa said the PSA should have started with the LFS survey on April 9 but decided to delay it for two weeks given the quarantine protocols.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte extended the Luzon-wide lockdown until April 30 to further contain the spread of COVID-19. — Beatrice M. Laforga