July 30, 2020 | 01:00PM

Our friends from the media, colleagues from government, especially our partners at the World Bank, magandang hapon sa ating lahat.

At the outset, I, on behalf of the NEDA, would like to thank the World Bank for this partnership. These are very uncertain times and that could  actually be an understatement. This is our first time to experience a global pandemic unless you were already around during the Spanish flu. And for most of us, again, the first time to be in a community quarantine.

One of the effective strategies to reduce uncertainty is to obtain accurate and timely information. And this is where these high frequency surveys will be of most use.

In early April, the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases created a Technical Working Group on Anticipatory and Forward Planning. This was chaired by NEDA and was directed to provide recommendations to address the loss of consumer and business confidence.

One of the methodologies that we employed at that time was the conduct of three (3) online surveys and some other online consultations. This helped us understand better the experiences of various sectors – the households, businesses, farmers and fisher folks. Information from the survey served as inputs in the now proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One. And most other information are being used to the updating of the Philippine Development Plan.

Given the fluidity of the situation, this information set needs to be updated every so often. This is why we are grateful to the World Bank for supporting this project.

We need to know what individuals and businesses are being informed about what to do, what is happening, and what to look forward to. We need to know if individuals and businesses are receiving the assistance as intended by government and even coming from LGUs and other sectors. We need to know how they are coping in this situation and how government and other stakeholders can further help. We need to know how they are engaging with business and other stakeholders in contributing to the fight against this pandemic and how they can best help.

So many things we need to know. And yes, we are really looking forward to these surveys and the survey data. We need this for policy-making and for program design. And ultimately, we need to reduce uncertainty during this very volatile time. I look forward to this launch and I hope that we can get the support of our partners from the media to disseminate this to our kababayans. We need your cooperation. We need your inputs. We need their voices be heard. Thank you.