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Lacson calls for full implementation of national ID system

Michelle R. Guillang

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Senator Panfilo Lacson on Saturday urged the national government to fully implement the Philippine Identification System as this would promote financial inclusion among Filipinos, especially the poor.

At the same time, the system would streamline government services which could fasten economic recovery while the country is battling the pandemic.

“The lack of identification creates formidable barriers for the downtrodden and the poor, and creates even larger barriers between the government and the people,” Lacson said during the third annual economic and political briefing of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Graduate School.

Lacson, one of the authors of the Act Establishing the Philippine Identification System, pointed out that PhilSys would allow Filipinos to enjoy equal access to financial services, considering the increased unemployment rate in the country as its overall economic growth in 2020 shrank by 9.5 percent.

“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,” the senator added.

He also said that the system would aid the national and local governments to facilitate a successful vaccine rollout.

“Once we have that herd immunity, where about 75 to 80 percent of the population are vaccinated, we can move around, go on and resume our economic activities,” he said.

At the height of Covid-19 crisis, Lacson lamented that the government “missed the opportunity” where the national ID system could have been utilized in the expeditious release of financial assistance like the Social Amelioration Programs (SAP).

As there was a delay in the disbursement of stimulus funds, he noted that it “gravely hurt the economy” as consumer spending is the key driving force of the Philippine economy.

“It imperils the generation of employment and resumption of economic activities in the ‘new normal,'” he said.

“The National Economic and Development Authority and the Philippine Statistics Authority are continuously trying to innovate to ensure the security of the implementation of the National ID system,” he added.

Despite the collection of basic personal information and biometrics, Lacson assured that this would not intrude on people’s privacy.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law mandating the creation of the system in August 2018, yet its full implementation has yet to be carried out.

The Philippine Statistics Authority is the primary agency mandated to register 50 million Filipinos, including resident aliens, into the system.

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