Tue. Mar 9th, 2021

MANILA – The best solution to reconcile the discrepancies of the lists of beneficiaries between the national and local government units (LGUs) is the immediate implementation of the National Identification System, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Tuesday.

“In the problems being encountered by the government in the social amelioration program and the database, perhaps, now is the time and my suggestion is to execute and enforce the national ID system,” Sotto said in a video message to reporters.

“This amelioration program rolls out for two months and might extend to three. The national ID system has been there since over a year ago. Fast break nila, otherwise hanggang next month magulo pa rin (there will still be confusion till next month),” he said.

Sotto assured though that there is no problem when it comes to the funding requirements for the Social Amelioration Program.

“Government can solve the needs for funds,” he said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson also said the government has the necessary funds for the emergency cash subsidy program but is encountering difficulties in its distribution.

“More than the availability of funds, the biggest challenge is in the roll out or distribution of the social amelioration funds to cover as many families hit by the ongoing lockdown,” he said in a press statement.

He earlier said the delay in rolling out the emergency cash subsidy to 18 million poor families as provided by the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act may be partly blamed in the delayed implementation of the national ID system.

“There is no perfect system of distribution of aid considering the number of families involved in the cash dole-out, further complicated by a less efficient database due to the late implementation of the National ID system,” Lacson said.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has also urged for the immediate implementation of the National ID System as a means for the national government to combat future pandemics.

“Matagal nang naipasa ang Philippine Identification System Act sa bansa. Napapanahon na upang ito’y gamitin bilang tugon sa mga emergency situations tulad ng krisis na nararanasan natin ngayon (The PISA has been passed in the country. It is high time to use this law as a response to emergency situations like the present crisis we are experiencing),” he said.

The Philippine Identification System Act (RA 11055), which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in August 2018, is aimed at creating a single official identification card for all citizens that would interconnect government-issued IDs.

The government has started pilot testing the national ID system last year, which originally was set to run up to June this year before formally rolling out the project in July next year.

The National ID System will have basic information to be sourced from data collected by the Philippine Statistics Authority. The cards will be given for free. (PNA)

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