By Divina NJD Cruz/Manila Times
A lawmaker pushed for the immediate implementation of the National Identification (ID) System to help the government deliver services to the people in times of crisis such as the current coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
House Committee on National Defence and Security chairman and Iloilo Fifth District Rep. Raul “Boboy” Tupas said the current crisis shows “how badly” the country needs the National ID System in mapping out beneficiaries of financial aid, especially those in the informal sector and the poor in rural and urban areas.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is currently struggling to identify the
18mn poor families qualified to receive the P5,000 to P8,000 financial aid under the social amelioration programme provided in the Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act in response to the economic impact of Covid-19 crisis.
“A national ID system complements the roll out of the social amelioration measures. It reinforces the targeting system of the DSWD and provides government the means to map out the informal sectors,” Tupas said.
Republic Act 11055 or an Act Establishing the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) has been signed into law in 2017. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) had started registration of some sectors under the Philsys in November 2019 and had initially targeted to complete enrolment of all Filipinos by mid-2020.
Tupas said the National ID System must push through this year, giving priority to the informal sector workers, minimum wage earners, indigenous peoples, farmers, fisherfolk, livestock raisers, drivers, athletes, household helpers, persons with disabilities, seniors, and solo parents.
“These segments of our population are the ones who faced great difficulties because of Covid-19 quarantine measures. Many of them simply had no ID to present,” he said.
“Lack of identification also means zero or little access to basic public services, including banking and financial transactions. Many are among the unbanked or outside of the financial system just because they have no IDs,” he added.
Tupas also pointed out the immediate need for job order, contract of service, and casual employees to acquire a National ID as they could easily lose their jobs due to the unstable or unsure nature of employment. He said employees who have member IDs from the Government Service Insurance System or the Social Security System do not urgently need the National ID.
He also pushed for registration of newborn babies under the PhilSys. Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte, deputy speaker and co-author of the House version of the PhilSys bill, has pointed out that the National ID System would help the government identify beneficiaries of financial assistance.
Aside from the National ID System, he also pushed for the “Bangko sa Barrio” (Bank in Villages) bill to ease delivery of emergency aid. The proposed measure would facilitate access of “unbanked Filipinos” to financial services, especially those living in remote villages without branches of private or state-run banks.
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