Data Collection and Analysis of Citizen Feedback to Strengthen Formal and Informal Businesses in Iligan City

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The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted business operations and resulting employment opportunities in Iligan City. In order to craft policies and programs that best support formal and informal MSMEs[1] in the locality, the city government of Iligan sought the opinions of their constituents through the Digital Democracy project.

A series of online consultations with Iligan city was conducted to formulate a 45-statement open-ended survey through the Pol.Is platform. Respondents voted either ‘agree’, ‘disagree’, or ‘pass’ for every statement presented to them.

An online citizen assembly was held on September 16, 2021, to explain the survey objectives and kick off the feedback collection process. The survey ran for a total of 13 days, with a total of 221 respondents and 5,296 votes.  After tabulation and analysis, the survey results were presented in the closing citizen assembly on September 30, 2021, as a centerpiece for discussion.

Using Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and clustering via Pol.Is report page, 153 voters were grouped under three opinion groups[2]. The general profiles of the opinion groups by metadata are as follows:

Group A (n=76) – Freelancers, home-based businesses, and businesses that shifted industries due to COVID-19;

Group B (n=44) – Established businesses mostly with physical stores, already registered in DTI, and has been operating for at least a year;

Group C (n=33) – Micro businesses and home-based businesses, many are not DTI-registered;

Groups A and C are similar in terms of metadata except that there are more freelancers and more DTI-registered businesses in Group A. Based on the competency-related statement votes, Group C is in need of additional support and training on the basics of running a business[3]. Group B on the other hand needs the least support among the opinion groups. Group B voters are registered and are doing relatively better in terms of business operations and know-how.

Points of consensus among opinion groups are:

  1. Businesses are negatively affected by COVID-19;
  2. Needs marketing and financing support;
  3. Currently using social media and internet in business operations;
  4. Takes extra steps to be environmentally-friendly;
  5. Believes that there isn’t enough local policy that supports MSMEs and freelancers;

Meanwhile, the opinion groups are divided[4] between agreement and disagreement on the following statements:

  1. Some shifted into freelancing due to COVID-19;
  2. Business closed amid COVID-19;
  3. Seldom short on funds;

A point of uncertainty among voters is whether or not they registered (or should register) their business with the DTI.

Association rules mined in the voting patterns showed that those who claimed that their businesses did not close due to the pandemic are those who are already competent in Marketing. Those who claimed that their business improved during the pandemic and that the business processes in Iligan are fast and efficient are those who own/worked for large enterprises that are in operation for at least 4 years. The large business owners/workers are also the minority that believes that there is sufficient policy in Iligan to support businesses.

Apart from the statement votes, the qualitative responses from the open-ended feedback raised the need for awareness in existing programs and policies of the LGU that support MSMEs, and that the business registration and compliance process should be streamlined and made online.

Finally, combining qualitative, quantitative, and discussion results highlighted the following key support requirements by Iligan MSMEs and freelancers:

  1. Lack of (awareness of) programs and policies that support MSMEs and freelancers;
  2. Need for relaxation of registration deadlines and request for local tax amnesties;
  3. Streamlining of business process registration and tax filing (through digital platforms);
  4. Need for training on marketing, business finance management, compliance to policy, ICT tools for business, etc.;
  5. Need to strengthen ICT infrastructure in Iligan;
  6. And, fast-tracking of COVID-19 vaccination.

[1] Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises

[2] These are groups of respondents who voted similarly on a group of statements.

[3] E.g. Business succession plan, business finance management, compliance to registration and tax obligations, etc.

[4] Roughly 50-50 between agreement and disagreement

View and download the full report here:

You can view the full closing assembly recording here:

Video Source: [MBC]

An ongoing study related to citizen feedback is being conducted by the CloudCT team and partners. This page will be updated with the DOI once the paper is published. For more details, questions, suggestions, please contact

Cloudcity Admin
Author: Cloudcity Admin