The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in collaboration with PARIS21 organised the 2-day Country Workshop on Access to New Data Sources for Official Statistics: Models for Big Data on 22-23 June 2016 in Manila, Philippines, with over 70 participants from government agencies, private telecommunications companies, academic institutions, and international agencies involved in big data work.

The workshop examined the potential of harnessing data from non-traditional sources such as big data for use in official statistics that could contribute towards generation of timely and regular indicators for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Philippines.  Further, the workshop identified incentives, presented example business models, and suggested protocols for partnership and engagement between private companies and the Philippine Statistical System through Public-Private Partnerships on big data for use in official statistics.

There is very high appreciation among participants, particularly the private sector representatives, for convening a national workshop on big data.  It is the first event in the country that explored the feasibility of big data in official statistics that brought together different stakeholders.

Participants actively engaged in the discussions and offered recommendations during the break-out group sessions. They urged the PSA to continue and sustain the dialogue on big data. There was general agreement among participants that official statistics stand to benefit from the use of big data as an alternative source provided that the right fundamentals (i.e., governance, co-ordination, architecture/infrastructure, methodologies, standards, and partnership/engagement) are put in place. 

Further, there is big potential for using big data in official statistics if the current issues and concerns by private sector representatives on data privacy, data confidentiality, data ownership, and pricing will be addressed.

Recommendations arising from the workshop include:

·      Convene a Task Force on Big Data to be co-ordinated and led by the PSA in collaboration with the UP School of Statistics with membership of the 2 telecom companies, Smart/PLDT and Globe Telecom

·      Organise learning communities that would facilitate understanding of and capacity building on big data 

·      Review appropriate business models for big data in the Philippines, taking into consideration the examples presented by international agencies

·      Explore use of big data for official statistics specifically for monitoring SDG indicators (example on health, environment and natural resources)

·      Set-up public-private partnerships in big data and for the Philippine Statistical System to embrace big data for use in official statistics for better advocacy

·      PSA should have a central role in big data in the Philippines, to enforce its legitimate mandate as custodian of trustworthy statistics 



For more on the outcomes of this workshop, visit the Philippines Statistics Authority website.

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