The Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) would promote financial inclusion among Filipinos and streamline government services which are contributing factors to faster economic recovery amid the pandemic, a senator said on Saturday.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, one of the principal sponsors of Senate Bill 1738 or 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.
He added that this can also help people easily access government services as the national ID would be enough proof of identity, hence one no longer needs to present multiple government IDs, which not everyone can access as well.
“The lack of identification creates formidable barriers for the downtrodden and the poor, and creates even larger barriers between the government and the people. 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,” he stated during the third annual economic and political briefing of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Graduate School.
The national ID, moreover, 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 Program.
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 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 (PSA) 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 biometric data, 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 PSA is the primary agency mandated to register 50 million Filipinos, including resident aliens, into the system.