Data Ethics PH was formed to promote, discuss, and assess the ethical use of data and technology in the Philippines. We are joined by wide group of technologists, data scientists, social impact advocates, and students all with a passion to drive social impact using data and technology.

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Panel 1

Satellite Data and Pandemics

Last May 30-31, the U.S. space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration, along with the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) of France invited coders, entrepreneurs, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, artists, and technologists to participate in an all-virtual, global hackathon. During a period of 48 hours, more than 15,000 participants from 150 countries created more than 2,000 virtual teams. They used Earth observation and other open data to propose solutions to one of twelve challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

40 global finalists have been selected. Among them are three teams from the Philippines answered the call to address challenges in the COVID-19 pandemic using space technologies.

Celestial Snails

SNAIL SPACE (A wordplay for Snail’s pace) is an app that provides comfort during times of social isolation by being a handy safe “space” for users. It encourages users to slow down in the midst of the fast paced world and be at their comfort (at a Snail’s pace). Just like snails that bring their safe spaces with them, the app acts as a safe space that users can bring with them. Slow down, breathe, and bring your space with you (like a snail!), be it on earth or in outer space!

Celestial Snails project page:

G.I.D.E.O.N. (Global Impact Detection from Emitted Light, Onset of Covid-19, and Nitrogen Dioxide)

Public policymakers and economic planners are challenged to come up with agile strategies to cope with the ongoing pandemic. However economic data are lagging indicators and are seldom available in time enough to power quick decisions. We turned to Earth Observations, in-country Economic Data, Human Mobility data, and global infection case counts for a holistic assessment of COVID’s impact on various countries.

GIDEON’s project page:


Sentinellium for public health was built keeping in mind that only a fraction of the Philippine population has internet. With SMS and free mobile data for Messenger, we capture more accurate user data, then integrated with official reports and NASA’s space assets on population density, urbanization, and aerosol. Being more robust, it enabled Sentinellium to form a more accurate prediction of developing epidemics to aid health authorities, and profile the users’ risk better.

Sentinellium’s project page:

Join us on July 30, as we celebrate this milestone and learn from our global finalists on how they developed projects to address COVID-19 challenges.

Link to our meetup is here:

The meetup will also be livestreamed over Facebook.

Panel 2

Independent Data Analysis of COVID-19

Social Problems such as COVID-19 are also data problems. In the Philippines, daily updates on the ongoing pandemic are provided by the Department of Health via daily situationers and data drops. Several independent parties and individuals have also joined the effort to provide public analysis and insight on the COVID statistics.

Andrei Diamante is an analyst based in Melbourne who started publishing coronavirus Tableau Dashboards in March in response to the shortage of information at the time. Some of his dashboards include global comparisons of case counts and fatality rates, Urban Density and Airline Volume analysis, and correlations of COVID with various factors such as country GDP and testing rates.


Mikko Gozalo is Chief Data Scientist for a Hong Kong based startup. As the pandemic started to spread he and his siblings started a coronavirus website. Apart from global data comparisons the Gozalo site also features data on testing and reporting latency of COVID deaths and recoveries.


Edson Guido publishes daily COVID updates on his Twitter account. Edson actively tracks regional COVID trends as well as positiviy rates and ICU Bed Occupancy.


Supported by the Philippine Society for Public Health Professionals (PSPHP), the LEADS For Health Security and Resiliency (L4H) publishes a dashboard featuring epidemic indicators by Dr. Peter Cayton, Jan Gil Sarmiento, Robert Leong and Dominic Ligot such as Time Varying R (Rt), Case Fatality Rates (CFR), as well as doubling times and growth rates.


L4H also features CO-INFORM, a pandemic risk-scoring system by Dr. Mike Promentilla, Dr. Jomar Rabajante, Dr. Gelo Apostol, April Anne Tigue, and Dominic Ligot. CO-INFORM combines COVID data, demographic, and public sector data to rank regions, provinces, and cities by hazard, vulnerability, and resiliency.


L4H is featured as part of a larger body of work: EndcovPH, by the UP Resilience Institute and the UP Pandemic Response Team. The EndcovPH website is a consolidation of the COVID work of UP academics and scientists led by Dr. Ted Herbosa and Dr. Mahar Lagmay.


EndcovPH is a rich repository of COVID data and indicators including projections by Dr. Jomar Rabajante and UPLB Biomathematics Initiative, Dr. Peter Cayton’s statistics compendia, LGU quick counts, medical supply tracking, and international COVID data comparisons contributed by Dr. Darwin Bandoy from UC Davies.


The Coronatracker started monitoring COVID as early as January when the first cases started being reported outside Wuhan, China. Coronatracker is a global collaboration led by Dr. Lau Cher Han of Lead.IO and supported by Cirrolytix, SEA and PH-based teams.


Apart from global case counts, Coronatracker also features COVID news feeds, flight restrictions, and general COVID information sourced from vetted channels such as WHO, CDC, and JHU. In March, the Coronatracker was recognized and published in the WHO Bulletin.


Do you know of other independent COVID data analysis we can feature?

Panel 3

Risk Management and Economics of Pandemics


When we entered the lockdown we were the first to talk about the ethics of communications and research, shortly followed by the a discussion about responsible modeling during pandemics. Now as we enter the “monthsary” of the ‘enhanced community quarantine’ (ECQ), it’s time for a third take on this pandemic.

After all the talk about epidemic models, flattening the curve, social distancing, and washing our hands, people still have more questions to be answered. Let’s finally discuss the implications of the ongoing pandemic on the other equally important aspects of our lives: jobs, inflation, the stock market, loans, what banks are doing, and more.

As we approach the scheduled lifting of the ECQ, let’s understand how COVID-19 impacts the economy.  

We had an engaging podcast where we discussed current events and implications on the Philippine economy. The Q&A was also quite rich in insights. Some topics we covered:

  • How does COVID-19 impact various economic sectors?
  • Economic Shocks: What is a “V”, “U”, and “L” shaped recovery?
  • What were the BSP measures and how could they affect the economy?
  • Financial crises vs. Health crises
  • What economic factors go with GDP: Consumption, Investment, Government Spending, and how they are expected to perform post ECQ?
  • How does the BSP create money? The roles of banks and lending.
  • How do banks manage risk and COVID’s implications to the banking sector?
  • What’s the difference between Monetary and Fiscal Policy?
  • Lifting the ECQ: Economy vs. Health – what is more important?
  • How was the performance of the Health sector so far?
  • What about Food Security? Does the current scenario spark civil unrest?
  • What industries are impacted by the crises? How can we implement a targeted ECQ?

This important discussion was led by two data scientist professionals who are working in the finance and economics sector.



Francis Endrinal has been working with data for financial consulting with banks and major financial institutions. He works with regulatory models for credit and enterprise risk with some of the top banks in the Philippines. He promotes the use of the R programming language for ordinary data work and the strengthening of data skills in the workplace. 


Robert Dan teaches econometrics and financial economics in DLSU and did stints in government and non-profits doing policy and analytics. He’s also an economist for a major financial institution who uses R and Python for analysis work.

Panel 4

Responsible Modeling during Pandemics


Our first podcast about risk communications and research ethics was well received but also opened up the elephant in the room: how do you responsibly model epidemic data? 

This podcast discussed informative topics and principles about epidemic modeling, the risks and caveats of imperfect information, and how the public health sector and data scientists can collaborate on better information for the public on COVID-19:

  • Epidemic Models: Phenomological (Data-fitting) vs. Mechanistic (Compartamental)
  • SEIR Modeling (Susceptible, Exposed, Infectious, Recovered) and parameters
  • Numbers vs. Insights
  • Defining Reproductive Number (R0)
  • When will the epidemic likely peak?
  • “Flattening the curve”
  • Effects of Quarantine and Social Distancing
  • Data input: Cumulative Cases vs. Frequency of New Cases per day
  • Exponential Growth Modeling
  • Limitations of Models: Assumptions and Data
  • “We should not allow the perfect be the enemy of good”
  • The moral dilemma of modelers: disclosing preliminary results to the public
  • How would the public benefit from infection forecasts

We were joined by three experts who have openly published work recently regarding COVID-19 forecasts:

  • Dr. Jomar Rabajante, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Biology (UPLB)
  • Dr. Darwin Bandoy, Genomic Data Scientist, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (UP)
  • Dr. Erika Legara, Director, Data Science Program (AIM)

About Our Guest Panelists


Dr. Jomar Rabajante is a Professor of Applied Mathematics (Mathematical Biology) at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Physics, University of the Philippines Los Baños. He holds an appointment as Junior Associate at the Quantitative Life Sciences Group of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste Italy.


Dr. Darwin Bandoy is a PhD Candidate of the Integrative Pathobiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, the number one veterinary school in the world with PCARI One Health PhD Scholarship. His principal investigator, Dr Bart Weimer is the Director of 100K Pathogen Genome Project and has published seminal papers in bacterial genomics together with the co-inventor random forests (Prof. Adele Cutler). Dr. Bandoy registered 10th highest GWA in UP College of VetMed since its founding in 1908, where he is currently on academic leave as an assistant professor. Dr. Bandoy is applying machine learning, whole genome sequencing of pathogens and infectious disease models for One Health Diseases.


Dr. Erika Legara is a physicist and a complex systems scientist. She holds an Aboitiz Chair in Data Science and is the Program Director of AIM’s MS in Data Science program. She is also a Senior Scientist at the ACCeSs@AIM R&D lab. Prior to joining AIM, she held a Scientist III position with the Singapore government from 2012-2017 where she worked closely with Industry R&D teams and other government agencies in building and deploying data-driven decision-support tools.

Useful Links and References


Rappler articles:

Dr. Rabajante’s interview on ANC

Dr. Bandoy’s guesting on RTVM

[PAASE Webinars] Dr. Jomar Rabajante’s Webinar on COVID 19 models

PH Scientist: It would take 2 to 3 months to flatten Covid-19 curve in PH | ANC