A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) to postpone its 2020 population and housing census to January next year amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
In filing House Resolution No. 1186, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said while the PSA has given assurances that its personnel have been trained to follow strict health protocols, there are still risks not only for the interviewees but interviewers and data enumerators as well.
He noted that while the population survey results would guide development planning and policymaking at the national and local levels, particularly in reducing poverty, conducting the census this year amid the health crisis is “not worth the risk people and PSA workers would be exposed to”.
“But 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,” he said.
He argued that delaying the census for a few months or even until there is a vaccine against the new coronavirus would not adversely affect development planning and policymaking by the national government and local government units.
“They can in the meantime rely on historical data with some adjustments,” he said.
He said that the PSA’s warning to the public that refusal to participate in the census bears the punishment of one-year imprisonment and a fine of PHP100,000 is “uncalled for and inappropriate”.
“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,” he said. (PNA)