Philippine Statistics Authority formed

The National Statistics Office (NSO) has announced that the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No.10625, otherwise known as the Philippine Statistical Act of 2013 finally took effect last December 29, 2013.

As the primary statistical arm of the government, the NSO, together with three other major statistical agencies engaged in the collection and compilation data for planning and policy purposes, will now be known as the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Sections 3 and 5 of RA 10625 mandate the reorganization of the Philippine Statistical System and the creation of the PSA through the merging of the NSO, National Statistical Coordination Board, Bureau of Agricultural Statistics of the Department of Agriculture, and the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics of the Department of Labor.

The PSA, which shall be headed by the National Statistician, shall be primarily responsible for all national censuses and surveys, sector statistics, consolidation of selected administrative recording systems and compilation of national accounts.

Moreover, Section 6 of the law also directs the PSA to carry out, enforce, and administer civil registration functions in the country as provided for under Act 3753, the Law on Registry of Civil Status.

Its main tasks include planning; development and prescription; dissemination and enforcement of policies, rules and regulations; and coordination of government-wide programs governing the production of official general-purpose statistics and the delivery of civil registration services.

The law also provides for the creation of the Philippine Statistical Research and Training Institute (PSRTI) to replace the Statistical Research and Training Center (Section 17).

The PSRTI, which shall be headed by an Executive Director, shall be chiefly accountable for the development of a comprehensive and integrated research and training program on the theories, concepts and methodologies for the promotion of the statistical system, among others.

Both the PSA and PSRTI shall be attached to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for policy coordination.

The Philippine Statistical Act of 2013 was signed into law by President Benigno S. Aquino III on September 12, 2013 to repeal Executive Order 121 entitled "Reorganizing and Strengthening the Philippines Statistical System (PSS) and for Other Purposes."

Its primary objectives are to rationalize and promote efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of statistical services and to maintain an integrated statistical system characterized by independence, objectivity and integrity so as to enhance responsiveness to the requirements of equitable national development.

It also aims to promote the orderly development of a statistical system capable of providing timely, accurate and useful data for the government and the public and to support decentralization through the establishment of the statistical infrastructure necessary to service the statistical needs of local development planning.

Section 29 of RA 10625 instructs the PSA to carry out the reorganization of the PSS in such a manner that the agencies absorbed by it shall continue to perform their respective functions during the transition period so as not to unduly delay the production of statistics from ongoing censuses, surveys and administrative records.