The Quezon City government on Thursday appealed to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) to validate its 2020 census after the agency reported that the city’s population grew by only 23,932 from 2015 up to last year.

“Napaka-imposible ng resulta ng census na ito. Paanong nangyari na ganun lang ang itinaas ng aming populasyon, na malayung-malayo sa datos na nakalap ng aming Civil Registry Department,” said Mayor Joy Belmonte.

Belmonte was referring to the 2020 census by the PSA, where it was indicated that the city’s population increased by just 23,932 or 0.17 percent annually from 2,936,116 to 2,960,048 in a five-year span.

“This is very far from the 2015 projections for 2020 by statisticians that our city’s population will increase by 1.17% per year or to 3.112 million,” Belmonte stressed.

Based on latest records from the City Civil Registry Department, Belmonte said there were 333,468 registered births and 115,810 deaths from 2015-2020.

“Even if you subtract the deaths, we have a difference of more than 200,000. Kaya ang malaking tanong dito, saan nakuha ng PSA ang kanilang mga numero?” asked Belmonte.

“Wala naman nangyaring mass exodus ng mga QCitizen’s mula sa aming lungsod in the last five years sa pagkakaalam namin,” she added.

She underscored the need for accuracy, saying the numbers presented by the PSA are not merely statistics, but will ultimately impact the services that the city provides to its citizens, especially when it comes to financial assistance provided by the national and city governments.

“Kawawa ang mga maliliit na barangay at kanilang mga residente. Mababawasan ang kanilang pondo pero ang katotohanan ay napakarami nila sa komunidad,” she said.

Belmonte called on the PSA evaluators to closely coordinate with barangay officials after the agency reported that some barangays lost a significant portion or between 30 to 54 percent of their population.

“The buildings and houses are still there and there are ongoing constructions. Saan napunta ang tao? Unrealistic that up to 54 percent of the population vanished. And this happened in not just one barangay but multiple barangays,” said Belmonte.

It was also reported that barangays were not aware that the evaluation had already been completed while some city officials attested that their places of residence weren’t surveyed.

Belmonte called on members of Congress to help the city get to the bottom of this mystery.

“We hope this disservice to the people of the city be given immediate attention,” Belmonte said.