MANILA (19 June 2020) -– The immediate implementation of Republic Act (RA) 11055 or the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) Act is President Rodrigo Duterte’s priority, Malacañang said on Thursday.

Duterte was convinced that there would be no more delays in the distribution of financial assistance to poor Filipino households, once PhilSys is fully activated, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual press conference aired on state-run PTV-4.

“Ang primary consideration po kung bakit binibigyan ng prayoridad ng Presidente ang national ID system ay yung pagbibigay po ng ayuda sa panahon ng krisis (The primary consideration why the President is giving the national ID system a priority is to ensure the immediate release of assistance in times of crisis),” Roque said.

Duterte earlier expressed frustrations over the delays in the release of first wave of payouts for low-income families affected by the implementation of the quarantine restrictions in the country due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

In a public address aired on April 14, Duterte said the PhilSys would have fast-tracked the distribution of emergency relief to indigent families under the national government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) during the Covid-19 crisis.

Duterte signed RA 11055 on August 6, 2018, to give Filipino citizens and resident aliens in the Philippines a valid proof of identity by having a PhilID, the national identification card under the PhilSys.

However, the government has yet to fully implement RA 11055.

One of Duterte’s marching orders to acting National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) acting Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua in April was to hasten the implementation of the PhilSys Act.

Roque said Duterte’s directive to Chua was meant to ensure that Filipinos would no longer experience any delays in the delivery of social services.

“Dahil kung meron tayong national ID system, hindi na sana naantala ‘yung pagbibigay ng ayuda sa ating mga kababayan (Because had we implemented the national ID system, the distribution of assistance to our fellow countrymen would have been faster),” he said.

RA 11055 designates the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which is under NEDA, as the primary implementing agency to carry out the provisions of the law.

The PSA aims to register around five million poor families for the PhilSys by December this year to make the distribution of government’s assistance more efficient.

It seeks to open the registration process by October in 46 registration centers and 1,170 mobile region centers nationwide.

The PSA will also work with the Land Bank of the Philippines to utilize the bank’s 126 branches as additional registration centers for PhilSys.

2nd tranche of cash aid

Meantime, Roque ensured that the implementation of the second phase of SAP would continue even sans the PhilID.

Roque noted that as of June 16, around 1.3 million families who are also part of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) have already received the second tranche of emergency subsidies.

“Mabuting balita. Nag-umpisa na po ang distribusyon ng second tranche ng SAP o iyong ating amelioration program (Good news. We have already started the distribution of the second tranche of SAP or our amelioration program),” he said.

Around 17 million low-income households living in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ are expected to receive the second wave of cash aid under SAP.

Roque said the release of payouts has already begun in Benguet, including Baguio City.

He added that the payouts would also be distributed in the National Capital Region; Central Luzon (except Aurora), and Calabarzon; provinces of Pangasinan, Albay, Cebu, and Iloilo; and cities of Bacolod, Zamboanga, and Davao. (ia/PNA)

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