PSA urged to postpone population census to January next year
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) should postpone its 2020 population and housing census and reschedule it in January next year as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said Tuesday.
Rodriguez said that while the PSA has given assurances that its personnel have been trained to follow strict health protocols in conducting the census, there are still risks involved not only for the interviewees but interviewers and data enumerators as well.
The census began on September 1 and will last until September 30.
The lawmaker said that while the population survey results would be very useful in guiding development planning and policy making at the national and local levels, particularly in reducing poverty, the period of pandemic is “not the most appropriate time” to do it.
“This period when we are battling a pandemic is not the most appropriate time to conduct the census. We are still getting daily positive cases in the thousands, though the Department of Health is reporting that the numbers are going down,” Rodriguez said.
He added doing the survey this year or while there is a health crisis is not worth the risk people and PSA workers would be exposed to.
For now, Rodriguez said that the PSA can delay the census for a few months or even until there is a vaccine against the new coronavirus as it would not adversely affect development planning and policy making by the national government and local government units.
“They can in the meantime rely on historical data with some adjustments,” Rodriguez said.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez also said that PSA’s warning to the public that refusal to participate in the census bears the punishment of one-year imprisonment and a fine of P100,000 is “uncalled for and inappropriate” especially during the pandemic.
“What we need is, as far as practicable, fewer people in the streets and outside their homes to help contain the spread of COVID-19,” Rodriguez said.
As of September 7, there are 238,727 COVID-19 cases in the country, with recoveries at 184,906 and death toll at 3,890.
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