BAGUIO CITY –  The Regional Statistics Committee recognized the study entitled “Mobilizing Investments and Community Participation in SDGs through Geomapping in the Philippines” by the Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation (JVOFI) on November 22 during the 4th Quarter RSC meeting for its excellent use of statistics towards community participation.

The Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation (JVOFI) presented the accomplishments of their study which was funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (German Corporation for International Cooperation or GIZ). It sought to involve the grassroots in the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030. JVOFI chose Benguet for its proximity to the regional center and convenient access to data.

JVOFI Executive Director Rosario Lopez said that the project takes advantage of the local resources of the communities to better monitor the SDG indicator data. JVOFI enlisted the help of various Cordillera regional agencies such as PSA, DSWD, DILG, DENR, and NEDA as well as the Benguet State University, University of the Philippine Baguio, and the Provincial Government of Benguet. Data was gathered and mapped using existing regional statistics and further validated with the concerned communities. The validation included a consultation where the community itself would list down projects and programs that would benefit them. By presenting through maps the status of the SDG indicators such as the number of schools, households with toilets, households with electricity, paved roads, among others, communities can better visualize the SDGs, appreciate its purpose, be able to contribute to its data collection, and take ownership of achieving its goals.

Lopez shared that Local Government Units are faced with so much data in all levels from the barangay to the international level but find it difficult to make sense of it all and communicate it effectively. Through the project, it was shown that there is a way by which LGUs more effectively identify development strategies and “mobilize support in terms of investments”. The year-long study will finish on December 15, 2019.

 “This is what should be done with statistics, Bahit said, adding that geo-mapping provides people with a clear visual idea of the data collected”. He observed that through methods like these data-driven consultations, the people and communities will be able to provide better insights on their situation, insights which may not manifest in simple direct consultations.

The RSC recognized the project as an “exemplary statistical activity” in its resolution “Endorsing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Geomapping of Benguet to Other Provinces of the Cordillera for Possible Replication”.  JVOFI shall “share advice to interested LGUs in sourcing project funding for their SDG Geo Mapping from donor institutions”, the resolution indicated. The PSA plans to create a region-wide geo-mapping of the SDGs as the agency is tasked to monitor the UN Sustainable Development Goals”.