National ID system budget sought despite bill still on hold

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government will allot money for the implementation of the national identification (ID) system, even if the bill regarding the system is not yet passed into law, Department of Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua confirmed on Wednesday, July 5.

According to Chua, P2 billion in the 2018 national budget will be allotted for the measure, which they aim to be fully implemented by 2020. Chua added that he predicts that the 2019 budget will also accommodate the yet-to-be-approved policy.

This, while the bill on the measure had just been approved by the House panel on population and family relations, and its counterpart bill in the Senate has not been reviewed.

The bill still needs to undergo second and third readings, and would need its passage in the Senate, then the nod of the President.

"In 2018, we will begin the registration for the cards," Chua said. "So we are just studying the best way to deliver and at the fastest time."

Should the bill be passed into law soon, Chua said that the IDs will distributed based on the need, thus prioritizing the poor.

Chua said the cards would first be given to senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs). Then, the 5.2 million poorest households in the country.

He said that the millions of households entrenched in poverty have not been receiving the conditional cash transfer (CCT) initiative of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

With the poor being the first recipients, they would easily be identified as the ones who need services the most from government agencies, Chua said. (READ: National ID to benefit unemployed, unbanked Filipinos)

"The ID will be used as a basis for social welfare, so that we know how we can easily deliver services," Chua said.

Chua added they proposed the national IDs would contain the biodata of its holders, and they are exploring the possibility of installing a credit card chip that can be used to receive subsidies and benefits.

“The ID will also contain information to determine if a person can take advantage of discounts in medicines, commuting, health care, education, and other applicable benefits under the law,” Chua said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will issue the ID cards, while the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) will provide oversight functions. - Rambo Talabong/