Marked decrease in census irks Maguindanao execs
COTABATO CITY—Local officials are protesting the results of a new survey released by the National Statistics Office (NSO) in Maguindanao that showed the province having a smaller population than what was previously reported.
In 2007, NSO records showed that the province had a population of 1,273,715 but in the new survey conducted in 2010, it turned out that Maguindanao had a population of only 944,718 or a difference of 328,997.
Razulden Mangelen, Maguindanao NSO chief, said it took NSO almost two years to make the census results public because officials wanted to make sure they were accurate.
Mangelen admitted that the results would touch raw nerves and local officials would not be happy over these.
“We were also surprised,” he said.
Shariff Aguak, the turf of former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., was among the towns that saw a marked decrease in population figures after the new survey which showed the town having a population of 35,964, a decrease of about half or 34,376 from the 2007 figure of 70,340.
Parang, the new survey showed, had a population of only 73,247 and not 102,247 as reported in 2007.
An official of NSO in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of his statements, said the 2007 figures might have been accurate because of in-migration.
But then, he said the population figures in 2007 could have also been deliberately manipulated.
“There could be other reasons, like increasing the population to also increase the internal revenue allotment (IRA) and for election purposes,” said the official.
Sultan Kudarat Mayor Tocao Mastura, whose town also had a decreased population based on the new survey, said the new NSO data would affect public service.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu admitted that with a reduced population, Maguindanao’s monthly IRA of P80 million would also be reduced by as much as P30 million per month.
But he said the result in some towns was justified. Edwin Fernandez with a report from Charlie Señase, Inquirer Mindanao
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