By Albino C. Gamba Jr.
(JUN. 5)—Dr. Lisa Grace S. Bersales, a professor at the UPD School of Statistics, was appointed by President Benigno Aquino III as the first National Statistician to head the newly-created Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). She assumed her post on Apr. 29.
The PSA, created through Republic Act 10625, serves as the central statistical authority of the Philippine government on primary data collection. It consolidated the four statistical offices and bureaus of the different national government agencies under one organization. These are the National Statistics Office, the National Statistical Coordination Board, Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, and the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics.
According to Bersales, her top priorities for the PSA is to have the proper budget for 2015 approved, put the appropriate people in place, review existing methods used in data collection and generation for enhancement, and update the Philippine Statistical Development Program.
The PSA is attached to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for policy coordination purposes. It is mandated to prepare and conduct periodic census on population, housing, agriculture, fisheries, business, industry and other sectors of the economy. PSA is also tasked to collect, compile, analyze, abstract and publish statistical information relating to the country’s economic, social, demographic, political affairs and general activities and condition of the people.
“I have met with Secretary Arsenio Balisacan of NEDA and his reminder is to provide timely official statistics for the policies and monitoring; eg. millennium development goals indicators, poverty statistics, national accounts, labor statistics,” said Bersales in an email interview.
“The main challenge is populating the organizational structure of PSA as well as meeting the demands for statistical products and services, especially timeliness,” she added.
Bersales served as UP Vice President for Planning and Finance from February 2011 until her appointment as PSA head. She also served as dean of the School of Statistics thrice. Her first term was from 1996 to 1998, and the second and third terms from 2002 to 2005 and 2005 to 2008, respectively.
She held professorial chair awards namely: the 2013 Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)-UP Centennial Professorial Chair (2013), the UPD Centennial Professorial Chair (2011-2012), BSP Sterling Professorial Chair on Government and Official Statistics (2009-2010) and the UP Roberto Coyuito Professor of Statistics.
Bersales has published a number of scholarly works, the most recent of which include the “Determinants of Regional Minimum Wages in the Philippines,” in proceedings of the 2014 BSP-UP Professorial Chair Lectures, and the “Mosquiron Larvicidal Trap (MLT): A Sensitive Attractant Zero Mosquito Pupal Trap” which she co-authored with Dr. Lilian A. de las Llagas, Dr. Arlene G. Bertuso, Dr. Virginia R. Ocampo and Myra S. Mistica.
Bersales obtained her BS, (cum laude), MS and PhD in Statistics from UPD in 1978, 1981 and 1989, respectively. — Image courtesy of UPSIO