A press conference was held on October 4 to drumbeat the region’s celebration of the 29th National Statistics Month.  It was organized by the Regional Statistics Committee and hosted by the Department of Tourism.

Dr. Carmel Matabang, Chief Economic Development Specialist of NEDA –CAR’s Development Research Division acted as one of the panelists.  She was joined by PSA Director Villafe Alibuyog, Baguio City Councilor Elmer Datuin, DOT Officer-in-Charge  Jovy Ganongan,  Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Officer-in-Charge Beta Cervantes, Baguio City SupervisingTourism Operations Officer Engr. Aloysius Mapalo, PSA SOCD Chief Aldrin Federico Bahit Jr., DENR Planning Chief Engr. Francis Basali, and DPWH Planning Officer Rowena Foronda.

In her Opening Message, Dir. Alibuyog explained that the theme for this year’s NSM celebration, “Exploring Philippine Wonders in Numbers: Statistics Towards Sustainable Tourism Development”, reflects the relevance of statistics in achieving a sustainable and progressive tourism growth for the country. It also emphasizes the need for statistics to identify potential tourism havens and areas which require intervention.

For her part, Dr. Matabang presented tourism statistics at the national and regional level and the contribution of CAR’s tourism sector to the region’s GRDP and employment. Meanwhile, Ms. Ganongan presented statistics on CAR’s tourism industry.  She said that the region had 1.969 million visitors in 2017, a 10 percent increase from the figures in 2016.  Of these visitors, 1.867 million were domestic tourists.   The rest came from countries such as USA, France, Korea, China, and Germany.  This was followed by a presentation of Ms. Cervantes on statistics about the region’s financial institutions, Engr. Basali on the state of the region’s ecotourism areas, and Ms. Foronda on the status of the region’s major roads by the DPWH, particularly after the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong.  .

During the Q&A part, one issue raised was the problem of gathering updated and complete data on tourist arrivals.  Baguio City Councilor Datuin informed that the City Council signed an ordinance enjoining all accommodation establishments in Baguio City to report on a regular basis the number of visitors they have accommodated.  Other issues discussed were the difficulty of getting correct estimates on the volume of gold sold by the region’s small-scale miners, and the importance of carrying capacity in the management of tourism areas.

Simultaneous with the Kapihan was an exhibit showcasing development statistics from agencies such as DSWD, DTI, DOLE, and DOT, and the region’s six provinces and one city.  NEDA, for its part, presented an infographics on the benefits of removing quantitative restrictions on rice.  The month-long exhibit shall be shown in the offices of the Regional Statistics Committee’s member-agencies.

After the Kapihan, PSA also launched the 2018 Statistical Handbook on Women and Men in CAR, and the 2017 Regional Social and Economic Trends.  Students from the University of the Cordilleras also helped make the event even livelier by performing a cultural dance.

NEDA-CAR Director Milagros Rimando chairs the Regional Statistics Committee, and PSA Director Villafe Alibuyog is the Vice-Chair.