Wed. Sep 29th, 2021

MANILA – Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Cecilia Borromeo on Wednesday said the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys ID) will greatly ease the distribution of cash aid to the beneficiaries.

During the Laging Handa public briefing aired over state-owned PTV, Borromeo said she supports the push by newly-appointed acting National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Karl Kendrick Chua on the national ID.

Citing the experience of Landbank, she explained they were able to disburse PHP16.3 billion worth of cash grants to the 3.7 million beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in just three days after they got the funds from the national government.

“We were able to disburse it fast because the CCT (conditional cash transfer) beneficiaries already have cash cards even before the Covid-19 (coronavirus disease) crisis,” she said.

Borromeo said the same situation was observed in the distribution of the financial support to the beneficiaries under the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), which is targeted for more than 250,000 workers from the private sector.

She said they were able to disburse the cash grants because the workers have bank accounts.

“This is different from our experience when we distributed the cash grants to the drivers who want to be helped by the DOTr (Department of Transportation) and LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board), where we have to distribute the cash grants over the counter of Landbank because they do not have bank accounts or cash card,” she said.

Borromeo said they will coordinate with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and NEDA to optimize and hasten the distribution of the national ID, which she hopes can be used also as bank and transactional accounts.

The government is scheduled to pilot-test the national ID system in May or June this year to about 14 to 15 million Filipinos and to roll it out by July 2021 to cover about 50 million persons.

Republic Act 11055, otherwise known as the Philippine Identification System Act, mandates that all Filipinos as well as resident aliens in the country be issued a national ID that will have basic information to be sourced from PSA data. The cards will be given for free.

In October 2019, the PSA and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that tasked the latter to produce within three years 116 million blank cards for the PhilSys that will have security features, which officials said are better than those used in making passports.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the government-to-government pact is better than involving the private sector to address any issue that usually arises when losing bidders question the final decision on a contract.

The national ID program costs about PHP30 billion.

Diokno said costs of production for what he called foundational ID will be about PHP3.4 billion, or around PHP30 per card. (PNA)

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