PSA: We’ll do disability survey in 2016

Vera Files

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said it will conduct a disability survey next year, after receiving flak for not including questions on disability in its 2015 census of population (POPCEN 2015).

“The PSA will conduct a Disability Prevalence Survey in 2016,” the agency said in a letter to VERA Files, in response to the story Census leaves out PWDs, angers disability council, which was syndicated in various media early this week.

It did not respond to earlier requests for comment on the matter, but sent the basic questionnaire it used for POPCEN 2015.

A survey collects data from a sample of the population, while a census gathers data on all persons.

Compared to a census, a survey would be the better instrument for measuring disability, National Statistician Lisa Grace Bersales said in the letter.

 “Disability data collected through a census are subject to high non-response rates and under-enumeration because of the sensitivity of the question of physical and mental impairments,” she said.

“In comparison, sample surveys can accommodate more detailed questions including special probes to ensure that persons with disabilities are identified,” she added.

The PSA said it will work with the National Council for Disability Affairs (NCDA) in the 2016 disability survey.

“A consultative meeting in the first quarter of 2016 will be held to discuss the data items to be included in this survey,” Bersales said.

“Recognizing the role of the [NCDA] concerning disability issues and concerns, the PSA will invite NCDA to participate in the meeting as it has done so for the POPCEN 2015 Data User’s Forum,” she added.

The PSA also said it will include disability questions in the 2020 census.

NCDA Acting Executive Director Carmen Zubiaga earlier lamented on the exclusion of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in this year’s census, calling it an outright denial of the sector’s right to be counted.

The exclusion of questions on disability could have consequences on the Philippines’ development agenda.

Over the next 15 years, the country has to work on achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs), seven targets of which refer explicitly to PWDs. These targets must be monitored by specific or disaggregated indicators.

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Manila, meanwhile, concluded last week with a declaration by 21 heads of member economies recognizing the significance of enabling the full participation of all sectors in society, including PWDs. (SeePH worked for PWD inclusion in APEC declaration)

Bersales said the PSA has supported efforts by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Washington Group on Disability Statistics to develop instruments for measuring disability.


(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look into current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)












  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with