By Ali G. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) population has spiked to almost five million at 3.26% growth rate from the 2015 census, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
BARMM has posted the highest population increase among all regions in the country during the period of 2015-2020 as shown in the comparative table posted in the official website.
The PSA announced on July 7 the official results of the 2020 Census of Population and Housing (CPH), and declared official for all purposes by the President under Proclamation no. 1179 dated July 06. Based on the official result, the total population of the Philippines as of 01 May 2020 is 109,035,343.
The country’s population represents the total number of persons living – including Filipinos in Philippine embassies, consulates, and missions abroad, as of 12:01 AM on 01 May 2020 in the 17 administrative regions of the country.
The PSA cited BARMM for being “fastest-growing” population indicated from its 3,781,387 in 2015 population count to 4,404,288 in the 2020 CPH (excluding Cotabato City and 63 barangays in North Cotabato). The figure translates to an annual population growth rate of 3.26 percent, the country’s highest, the agency said.
The latest BARMM population count covers Maguindanao (1,342,179); Lanao del Sur including Marawi (1,195,518); Sulu (1,000,108); Tawi-Tawi (440,276); and Basilan including Lamitan City (426,207), and Cotabato City (325,079). The population figure for the 63 autonomy-opting barangays in North Cotabato was not indicated in the report.
Officials of the PSA-BARMM led by Engr. Nasser S. Usman, OIC-regional director, conducted a virtual media forum on July 22 to explain some circumstances characterizing the conduct of the 2022 census. Former PSA-ARMM Director Raz Mangelen, now provincial head for Maguindanao, assisted in the data explanations.
Despite the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic, Usman and Mangelen said the PSA has overcome unprecedented challenges to collect and produce high-quality data.
They asserted that updated precise census statistics are imperative in critical decision-making for good governance, development planning, risk reduction, and crisis response, social welfare programs, and business market analyses, among others.
“These (statistics) are particularly vital in the current BARMM administration’s planning, execution and evaluation of various projects and policies meant to achieve “moral governance” in the infant autonomous region,” Usman said.
The PSA central office has lauded the public for their support and response to the 2020 CPH despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 CPH is the country’s 15th census of population and 7th census of housing since 1903. (AGM)