If the national government is really serious to implement the National ID system and capture as many registrants and serve the purpose of better delivery of social services to our people – including more efficient revenue collection, effective anti-corruption and anti-criminality efforts and the like – they better resolve some pestering issues quickly and surely.
While the National ID law has finally taken off the ground, it has been slowed by several issues – from the controversies that attended the awarding of contracts in outsourcing supply and services, to the crashing of the PSA website due to the unanticipated surge of applicants, and now the long hours of waiting just to register and God knows what else.
The key to the effective implementation of the National ID System or PhilSys Act is our ability to ‘capture the universe’ and encourage as many Filipinos to sign up and register. That much I used as one of my arguments while sponsoring and defending the measure on the Senate floor three years ago.
Finally, it was enacted into law in 2018. It has already taken a long time since its passage and the implementation of the said law is now taking off the ground. If the issues are left unaddressed, it will be another missed opportunity to uplift the lives of our people in more ways than one.
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.
I hope the National Economic and Development Authority can fast-track the implementation of the National ID system, as directed by the President.
NEDA should have ample help from the Philippine Statistics Authority as the frontline agency, and the Department of ICT which plays a major role.
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.
We only need to look at how much the most prosperous countries spend on R&D to see why we are among the laggards. Even if we bump up the percentage to 1 or 2 percent of the national budget, it would make a major difference.
“Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, several elective officials are calling for a ‘full-blown’ and immediate implementation of the National ID System as this would not only aid in the efficient distribution of the social amelioration program currently being implemented by different government agencies, but would also help our law enforcement agencies in fighting crimes and facilitate key government services and transactions, among others.” (co-author with Senate President Sotto)
But if public figures like Prince Charles, Boris Johnson, Tom Hanks, Christopher de Leon and several of our own legislators had voluntarily and publicly declared they are or were infected, maybe it is time for the “man on the street” – the ordinary Filipinos – to do the same in order to alert those who they had interacted with to take the necessary measures, so that the infection does not spread further.
If their identities are made public voluntarily, even through their barangay bulletins, homeowners’ associations or any social media platforms available, then people who they directly got in contact with can come forward to be tested and treated if needed.
As an elected Senator of the Republic, I appeal to our citizens to practice that selfless act of responsibility to society and do our part in hastening to flatten the curve by thwarting the spread of the virus even in our own little way.
COVID-19 may not be like the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), where there is social stigma attached to the afflicted because it is sexually transmitted in most cases. Nevertheless, it does not diminish the threat that COVID-19 poses not only to those vulnerable but those around them.
Republic Act 11055 establishes the PhilSys (Philippine Identification System) to provide a valid proof of identity for all citizens and resident aliens to simplify public and private transactions.
PhilSys will also be a social and economic platform through which transactions can be availed of, and shall serve as the link in promoting seamless service delivery, enhancing administrative governance, reducing corruption, strengthening financial inclusion, and promoting ease of doing business.