OPINION

November 4, 2007 at 4:36 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

DATA FROM BELOW: RATED PG By Ike Seneres

I was still surprised when I was disenfranchised from voting in the recent election, despite having voted in my usual precinct all these years. As I was told, the COMELEC did a “shaving” procedure (that’s the term that they used), moving some voters to other precincts. I could not see the logic of it, because all my relatives who live in the same neighborhood as mine stayed in the same precinct, including my wife. Whoever did the “shaving” did not seem to realize that logically, spouses should vote in the same precinct.

I do not know how many others were similarly disenfranchised, but it is very clear that the poll body failed in its duty to build and maintain its databases, diligently and properly, that is. No matter how high tech a computer system is, the final reckoning is still in the buildup of the content, because it is the quality of the content that measures the maturity of the data keepers, not the luster of the machines.

As a guest political analyst of UNTV, I was asked about the significance of that election. I said that since the barangay is supposed to be the smallest unit of governance, it should be the milieu where the delivery of public services are objectively planned, delivered, monitored and measured, in terms of data that should feed the municipal, provincial, regional and national databases, assuming that these are diligently built and maintained.

If the government really wants to report truthful and accurate data at the national level, it should gather the data from below, because the aggregate data should only be a sum of its parts. This rule should apply not only to the reporting of the crime rate, the poverty rate and the unemployment rate, but also to the reporting of deliverables in the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the later being an international commitment.

If the government is not basing its reports on data that is coming from below, where is it getting the information that it brings out? Information is nothing but processed data, and there is no other way of producing it.

For more information about public governance, email: iseneres@yahoo.com

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