Philippine government to digitise the database containing information on displaced Marawi residents

An announcement made by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) highlighted the Agency’s plans of digitising the database containing the information on displaced Marawi residents. This is to replace their current process of doing things manually, which is prone to error and duplication. Moreover, having a web-based database will ease the work of the people tasked to do the manual jobs.

PIA Director General Mr Harold Clavite said that the Information Management and Strategic Communications Support Group (StratComm) of Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) is exploring the idea of digitising the database of displaced Marawi residents.

Mr Clavite said, “StratComm and TFBM field offices are working on a centralised database system that will track thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) brought about by the Marawi conflict.”

He added, “During an Executive Committee (ExeCom) meeting early this year, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) raised the issue on the lack of a centralised tracking system. This led to TFBM Chair Eduardo Del Rosario directing the PIA to look into the matter.”

It is TFBM Field Office Manager Assistant Secretary Mr Felix Castro who is leading the discussions with agencies. He said, “Right now, the government is doing it manually and we want to find available options that will make it easier for the workers of all the agencies involved.”

He added, “A web-based database system will allow the task force and the national government agencies (NGAs) to track the needs of IDPs, including food and non-food assistance being provided. We will continue our discussions with the agencies involved such as the local government units as we develop this tracking system.”

The Disaster Assistance Family Access Card (DAFAC) is currently being used by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to validate the status of affected families. DSWD oversees the Philippine government’s response cluster.

The DAFAC also serves as a reference. It records the names of family members and the assistance that they have received whether from the DSWD or other humanitarian agencies. This is to ensure the equal distribution of goods to the people.

Mr Clavite explained, “It relies heavily on manual recording of family information. The reporting and checking of data are done by hand. It tends to be time consuming at times.”

He added, “With the IDP’s frequent change of locations, there is always a need to recheck possible cases of duplicate entries. We also need to clean the master list of IDPs because it serves as the basis for those who still need to receive further assistance. The task of doing these validations fall on the shoulders of the local government units (LGUs) and agencies.”

He furthered, “The current system in place is less efficient and can be very taxing to our workers. Imagine manually managing tens and thousands of records. We are creating this tool to help families more quickly, not only for the case of Marawi but also during possible future scenarios.”

According to the data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Marawi conflict has forcibly displaced 98 percent of the total population of the city. This data includes the residents from nearby municipalities who were compelled to leave due to severe food shortage and constriction of local economies.

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