A full implementation of the Philippine Identification System (National ID) Act will speed up the country’s economic recovery following a 9.5-percent contraction in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said.
Lacson, one of the authors and the principal sponsor of the measure in the Senate, said the National ID system will promote financial inclusion and streamline government services – both of which are needed at this time.
“The lack of identification creates formidable barriers for the downtrodden and the poor, and creates even larger barriers between the government and the people. Hence, we should push for the implementation of the National ID if we want to further strengthen our response not only against the pandemic, particularly in the roll-out of the much-awaited vaccines, but in many of our future endeavors,” he said at the third annual economic and political briefing of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Graduate School.
He said the National ID system can facilitate a successful vaccine rollout which will lead to herd immunity. “Once we have that herd immunity, where about 75 to 80 percent of the population are vaccinated, we can move around, go on and resume our economic activities,” he said.
Lacson, who noted the Philippine economy contracted by 9.5 percent in 2020 – the largest contraction ever recorded, lamented the “missed opportunity” in the early months of the pandemic where the National ID system could have helped facilitate the expeditious and efficient release of various stimulus funds of the government.
The delay in the disbursement of stimulus funds such as subsidies from the Social Amelioration Programs (SAPs) gravely hurt the economy, he said. “It imperils the generation of employment and resumption of economic activities in the ‘new normal,’” he added.
Meanwhile, Lacson assured the National ID measure – which became law as early as August 2018 – will contain only basic data and will not intrude on people’s privacy.
“The National Economic and Development Authority and the Philippine Statistics Authority are continuously trying to innovate to ensure the security of the implementation of the National ID system,” he added.