By Ben Rosario
Government should have nobody else to blame but itself for the delay in the implementation of the national ID system that President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law in August 2018.
Instead of looking for a scapegoat, Duterte should look within his government to know who prevented the implementation of Republic Act No. 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act, said House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares.
Government recognizes that the national ID system must be put in place to facilitate the implementation of the social amelioration program (SAP) and other relief measures during the ongoing national health emergency. This is also seen as essential in ensuring that the aid programs are implemented more expeditiously, and, if possible even “graft-free.”
However, state officials have accused the political opposition for the much-delayed compliance to RA 11055 notwithstanding the fact that is already a law.
“Instead of blaming and scapegoating the Left for the sluggish implementation of his pet project, the president should have checked first with his Cabinet members and asked why, despite billions of funds at their disposal, that system is still not in place,” Zarate.
Zarate explained that implementation of the national ID system was supported with a P2 billion allocation for the Philippine Statistics Authority which is the lead agency for its realization.
Meanwhile, another P2.1 billion is allocated in the proposed 2019 Budget to support its full implementation.
“Why was it not implemented then when they have all the budget they need and now he is blaming the Left?,” said the opposition lawmaker.
“We in Bayan Muna and the Makabayan bloc will continue to oppose the national ID system because it has grave implications on the right to privacy of individuals and even on national security. But it must be said that it is not the Left who caused the delay in but the ineptitude and inefficiency of the implementing agencies under the Duterte administration,” Zarate stated.
“Also based on the National Expenditure Program (NEP) the budget for the program was P2.435-billion but P1.435-billion was slashed from it in the 2020 GAA to fund other various infrastructure projects. President Duterte should stop diverting the issue and buckle down to effectively solve the crisis arising from the pandemic by medical and socio-economic means and not militaristic ones,” said Zarate.
Meanwhile, Colmenares said that “it is not acceptable that while the lockdown is already entering its sixth week, the Duterte administration is still groping in the dark on how to effectively deal with the pandemic.”