MANILA - The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) processing center in Catanduanes had its roof blown off by Typhoon Rolly, damaging around 30 percent of collected 2020 census registration forms stored there, the agency said on Monday.
The statistics agency is working on restoring the needed data in order to release census results by the second quarter of 2021.
“We are targeting to release the whole census, not just for Region 5, in the second quarter of next year," Officer in Charge Deputy National Statistician Minerva Esquivias said.
"Hopefully matatapos ang reconstruction by December or early next year, because we have to re-evaluate the data, so we can release the population count by second quarter," she added.
(Hopefully, we can finish reconstruction of the PSA center by December or early next year because we have to re-evaluate the data so we can release the population count by the second quarter.)
The PSA noted some of the enumerators roving around households are also exposed to COVID-19, adding that they are tapping the local government units (LGU) for support due to lack of budget for testing and quarantine expenses.
"We are thankful that some of the LGUs are shouldering the costs that are necessary to do the testing. We cannot do that on 100 percent basis. The census was planned without the appropriate funding for the expenses of the COVID. We cannot do the testing for all the enumerators. We are banking on LGUs to provide them for free," Esquivias said.
Despite COVID-related challenges, the PSA expects some 4.6 million households to initially start the second step in registering for the national ID system (PhilSys) by January 11.
Government aims to conduct nationwide PhilSys registration by February or March.
Step 2 of the PhilSys process involves the collection of biometric information, such as fingerprints and photographs.
Esquivias said the census this year will no longer capture Typhoon Rolly's impact, as they will not survey Region 5 again and instead rely on data from the ravaged Catanduanes center.
The goal is to register 25 million households or around 108 million individuals, she added.
For her part, Deputy National Statistician Rosalinda Bautista said the PSA does not have an official count of enumerators and registrants who have tested positive for COVID-19, at present.
A week after Rolly left, evacuees in Catanduanes returned to their homes.
--with a report from Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News