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2002 SOF Highlights
Concepts and Definitions
Explanatory Text

Explanatory Text

The Survey on Overseas Filipinos (SOF) is a nationwide survey that seeks to gather information on Filipino citizens including overseas workers who left abroad during the last five years. Data on their remittances however, are gathered using the past six months. Such that all statistics presented in this report pertains only to those Filipinos who worked or have worked abroad during the last six months preceding the survey period.

The SOF is a rider survey to the October round of the Labor Force Survey every year.

Data collection of the characteristics of overseas workers started in 1982 using a one-page rider questionnaire in the Integrated Survey of Households (ISH) and continued until 1986.

In 1987, during the revision of the ISH Form 2 or the Labor Force Survey (LFS) questionnaire, a column indicator for overseas contract workers (OCWs) was added to get the estimate of the number of OCWs. With the increasing demand for information on overseas workers. The Survey on Overseas Workers (SOW) was resumed in 1991 revising the previous questionnaire to generate more comprehensive data.

Data on international migration were gathered in the 1988 National Demographic Survey (NDS). With the expanded coverage of the 1993 NDS on health and immunization, the section on international migration was deleted fromthe NDS but recommended for inclusion in SOW starting 1992. In 1993, the SOW was renamed to SOF.

The SOF aims to provide data on overseas Filipinos particularly the overseas contract workers and their contribution to the economy. Specifically, the survey has the following objectives:

  1. To obtain national estimates on the number of overseas Filipinos including overseas workers and their socio-economic characteristics; and

  2. To provide estimates on the amount of cash and in kind transfers received by the families and the mode of remittance.


Commonwealth Act No. 591
(An act to Create a Bureau of the Census and Statistics to Consolidate Statistical Activities of the Government Therein) which empowers the Bureau to conduct by enumeration, sampling or other methods for statistical purposes, studies of social and economic problems of the country.

Presidential Decree No. 418
Reconstituting the Bureau of the Census and Statistics as a new agency under the administrative supervision of the National Economic and Development Authority to be known as the National Statistics Office.

Executive Order No. 121
(Otherwise known as Reorganization Act of the Philippine Statistical System) – renaming the National Statistics Office (NSO) which shall be the major statistical agency responsible for generating general purpose statistics and undertaking such censuses and surveys as may be designated by the National Statistical Coordination Board.

Section 4 of Commonwealth Act No. 591 states that…

“The data furnished to the Bureau of the Census and Statistics will be kept strictly confidential and shall not be used as evidence in court for purposes of taxation, regulation or investigation; nor shall such data or information be divulged to any person except authorized employees of the Bureau of the Census and Statistics, acting in the performance of their duties; nor such data be published except in the form of summaries or statistical tables in which no reference to any particular individual, corporation, partnership, institution, or business enterprise shall appear..”

Persons violating the provisions of the above section shall upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than six hundred pesos or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or by both.

Furthermore, Section 17 of Executive Order No. 121 stipulates that “subject to existing laws, rules and regulations on confidentiality of information, any individual, institution or instrumentality shall be given access to unpublished data, provided that the cost incurred is assumed by the requesting party, in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations.”

The SOF is a nationwide survey involving a probability sample of about 41,000 households. The households to be interviewed are considered representative samples of private households in all provinces of the country.

The survey aims to collect data on overseas Filipinos and their socio-economic characteristics.

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