PSA to use drones, GPS for precise data gathering in BARMM

Published October 8, 2019, 9:46 AM

by Dr. Eduardo Gonzales

By Ali Macabalang 

COTABATO CITY – The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is girding to enhance its methods of gathering precise data in component areas of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM, with the use of drones and Global Positioning System (GPS) devices.


This was announced by Razulden A. Mangelen, acting PSA regional director for BARMM, at the kickoff celebration of the 30th National Statistics Month (NSM) on Monday, Oct. 7 at the autonomous government compound here.

“In the very near future, we will venture into statistical innovations such as business intelligence, analytics, visualization, machine learning, and internet of things for the overall improvement in data-gathering system,” Mangelen said.

“Through effective innovations, the Bangsamoro people will be assured of the achievement of its long-term vision of a simple and comfortable life for all BARMM constituents,” Mangelen added.

Rank and file work forces from different BARMM line ministries and offices joined Mangelen and his staff in launching activities for the celebration of the 30th NSM in the Bangsamoro region under the theme – “Data Innovation: Key to a Better Nation.”

The annual celebration is done every October pursuant to Proclamation No. 647, s.1990, by then President Corazon C. Aquino, the PSA field office and the BARMM’s Regional Statistical Services Office (RSSO said.

Mangelen’s announcement drew positive reactions from various sectors within and outside the Bangsamoro region. The infant region replaced the 29-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and covers the provinces of Lanao del Sur (including Marawi City), Basilan (including Lamitan City), Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato City and 63 villages in six North Cotabato towns.

Citing statistical records, the national government for decades had classified ARMM as the second “poorest” region in the country, and Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Sulu as among the “10 poorest provinces.”

Former ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman had questioned the veracity of data involved in the national assessment, even as he contemplated to make representations with the central government for the gathering of more accurate data about the areas of regional autonomy. But his plan was overtaken by the abolition of ARMM and its replacement by BARMM early this year.

New Mindanao Development Authority (Mindanao) Chair Manny Piñol also cast doubt on the reliability of current statistics about socio-economic standings of the Bangsamoro areas, particularly Lanao del Sur being tagged as the country’s poorest province.

Sec. Piñol said that in his visits to Lanao del Sur during his incumbency as agriculture chief, he found majority of individuals in Lanao del Sur living affluent lives as indicated by their ownership of sports utility vehicles.

He raised the possibility of “mere estimation” in the previous gathering of statistics in the autonomous region, saying data collectors could have not done house-to-house surveys in Lanao del Sur.

He said he would task his technical people in MinDA to initiate steps that could lead to the gathering of more precise data about Lanao del Sur and other parts of BARMM, to which President Duterte had designated him as “point man” about four months ago.