The man who oversees the national government’s public information infrastructure said efforts are underway to digitize information of those forced to flee their homes after a conflict.
Philippine Information Agency Director General Harold Clavite said the digitization of the database of displaced Marawi residents is now being explored by the Information Management and Strategic Communications Support Group (StratComm) of Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM).
Clavite co-leads the StratComm together with Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.
“StratComm is working on a centralized database tracking system that will track thousands of IDPs (internally displaced persons) of the Marawi conflict. During one of the Execom meetings held in March 2018, the Department of Trade and Industry raised the issue of a lack of a centralized tracking system, so TFBM Chairman Eduardo Del Rosario asked the PIA to investigate the matter,” he said.
“Right now, the government is doing it manually and we want to look at available options to make it easier for workers of all agencies involved in the work. A web-based database system will allow the task force and the NGAs (national government agencies) to track the needs of IDPs as well as food and non-food assistance being provided. We will continue our discussions with the agencies involved including the local government units as we develop this tracking system,” he added.
Currently, to validate the status of affected families, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which chairs government’s response cluster, uses the Disaster Assistance Family Access Card.
The DAFAC also serves as a reference for the provision of additional and appropriate interventions. It records the names of family members and the assistance that they have already acquired from the DSWD or other humanitarian agencies.
“It relies on manually recording family information, reporting, and checking data [by hand] can be time-consuming at times. Due to the frequent change of location of IDPs, for example, there was a need to recheck possible cases of double entries and to sanitize the master list of IDPs, which will be used as a basis for those who will receive further interventions,” Clavite said.
“The current system is less efficient. Can you imagine managing through the DAFAC hundreds of thousands of people? We are creating this tool to economically and quickly help more families not only in Marawi but in other future scenarios,” he added.
Data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said the Marawi conflict “forcibly displaced 98 percent of the total population of the city, as well as residents from nearby municipalities, who were compelled to leave due to severe food shortage and/or constriction of local economies.”
The PIA, the national government’s official communications arm, has been involved with the Task Force Bangon (Rise up) Marawi or Bangon Ranao since its creation by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 28, 2017, through Administrative Order No. 3.