By Vanne Terrazola
The Senate will conduct an inquiry into the delay in the roll out of the national identification system which is being blamed for the gaffes in the government’s emergency subsidy program amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Panfilo Lacson filed on Wednesday Senate Resolution No. 352 seeking to call for a legislative probe on the status of the implementation of Republic Act No. 11055 which created the Philippine Identification System or the PhilSys.
The law was enacted in August, 2018, while its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) were signed in October, 2018.
The PSA started the pilot testing of the PhilSys in September last year.
“Almost two years from its enactment into law and the approval of its IRR, there seems to be no significant headway on its implementation,” Sotto and Lacson said in their resolution.
The two lawmakers said the PhilSys could have helped government agencies in the efficient distribution of the financial assistance to poor families and affected sectors amid the coronavirus outbreak.
In his public address Monday night, President Duterte also admitted that the national ID system could have avoided the problems in the delivery of the P5,000 to P8,000 subsidy to indigent households.
Aside from the emergency subsidy program, the national ID system “will also help our law enforcement agencies in fighting crimes and facilitate key government services and transactions, among others,” they added.
Sotto, who earlier called for a “full-blown execution” of the PhilSys said they will invite officials from the National Economic and Development Authority and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) which were tasked to implement the national ID system.
He said the two attached agencies have a “huge role in the delay in the implementation” of the program.
Other executive offices, as well as service providers from the private sector, will also be summoned in the hearing to determine the cause of the slow roll out of the national ID system, he said.
According to the senators, the PhilSys was allocated with a total budget of P6.096 billion for three years. Prior to its approval, a budget of P2 billion was allocated for the national ID system under the 2018 General Appropriations Act.
The entire program costs P25 billion.
Congress is currently on a break and is scheduled to resume its sessions on May 4.