The marginalized sector in the country needing emergency cash assistance from the government amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID) crisis should be prioritized in the registration for the national identification (ID) system, according to Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday.
The senator, who sponsored the Philippine Identification System Act, said he was hoping the National Economic and Development Authority would expedite the system’s implementation.
“The first question is, is the system ready to accept registrants? If so, they should give priority to the marginalized sector, and those targeted for financial assistance because of the COVID-19 crisis,” Lacson said in a statement.
“The National ID system was signed into law nearly two years ago. There is no other time than now where it is most needed,” he added.
The national ID will contain the PhilSys number, full name, facial image, sex, date of birth, blood type, and address of the concerned individual.
Lacson, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian were among the senators who believe that the system could have significantly helped in the COVID-19 response of the government.
President Rodrigo Duterte also blamed the absence of the national ID system for the convoluted distribution of emergency subsidy amid the health emergency.
Duterte signed the Philippine Identification System Act in August 2018. It seeks to harmonize, integrate, and interconnect the countless and redundant government IDs by establishing a single national identification system.
The Philippine Statistics Authority previously said the mass enrollment for the ID system would start in mid-2020.
Lacson and Sotto recently filed a resolution seeking an investigation on the status of implementation of the national ID system.
Despite a total allocated budget of P6 billion from 2018 to 2020, the senators said that “there seems to be no significant headway on its implementation.” -NB, GMA News