The National Statistics Office (NSO) was first called the Bureau of the Census and Statistics (BCS) under Commonwealth Act. No. 591 approved on August 19, 1940.
The BCS was created to consolidate statistical activities of the government under the executive direction of the President of the Philippines. Transferred to the BCS were the powers, functions and duties of the Statistics Division of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce; Civil Registry Division of the National Library; and Statistics Division of the Bureau of Customs. Also transferred to the BCS were the personnel, equipment, unexpended appropriations, records, documents, supplies and other property upon or prior to the completion of the census taken in accordance with the provision of C. A. 170, the act creating the Commission of Census.
On January 1, 1941, the BCS was transferred (under Executive Order No. 392) to the then Department of Trade. Presidential Decree No 418 issued on March 20, 1974 reconstituted the BCS into a new agency known as the National Census and Statistics Office (NCSO) under the administrative supervision of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
In 1987, by virtue of Executive Order No. 121 entitled “Reorganizing and Strengthening the Philippine Statistical System and for Other Purposes”, the NCSO was renamed National Statistics Office (NSO) under the administrative supervision of the Office of the President.
Executive Order No. 149 dated December 28, 1993 was issued by the Office of the President entitled “Streamlining of the Office of the President”. By virtue of this order, the NSO was placed again under the administrative supervision of the NEDA for effective policy and program coordination and integration.
Executive Order No. 5, approved on October 23, 1999 is the most recent development. It mandated the “Strengthening of the National Statistics Office”. The order strengthens NSO through decentralization of statistics generation activities, transformation of Central Office Units into more developmental planning and evaluation units, and increased application of information technology in its operations to efficiently and effectively perform its mandated functions.