Gov’t readies National I.D. System this year

Published July 19, 2020, 4:43 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government is aiming to implement the country’s national identification program this year to enhance the distribution of relief assistance to the country’s poor and vulnerable sectors of society.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles has recognized that the national I.D. system will be “very important” in carrying out the social protection measures especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We hope to be able to implement the national I.D. this year so that mas madali po ang pagbibigay natin ng mga social protection/interventions ng gobyerno gamit ang national I.D. (We can hasten the social protection/interventions of the government using the national I.D.),” Nograles said during a recent media forum.

“Kailangan po nating pangalagaan ang mga pangangailangan ng ating pinaka-vulnerable sectors of society (We need to take care of the needs of the most vulnerable sectors of society),” he added.

President Duterte earlier expressed frustration that the national I.D. system has not been fully implemented two years since it was signed into law. Duterte said a single identification program could have facilitated the swift distribution of financial aid to sectors affected by the pandemic.

According to Nograles, the government’s social protection programs will be included in the proposed second phase of the Bayanihan law that seeks to stimulate economic growth and provide aid to affected sectors. He said the bill includes financial assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises as well as the public transportation sector to help them recover from the impact of the pandemic.

Apart from the assistance given to low income households, he said the government implements the feeding program for schoolchildren to ensure they get proper nutrition. He said the program must be sustained even though face-to-face classes have been temporarily halted as a precaution against the disease outbreak.

“Siguro nakikita naman po natin ngayon, ang worldwide trend po, ang next problem po natin is siyempre iyong kagutuman. So kasama rin ng kagutuman siyempre, iyong problema natin ng kalusugan or iyong access to—iyong nutrisyon, nutritional intake ng ating mga mamamayan (We have seen the worldwide trend, the next problem will be hunger. Hunger also includes the problem of health or access to nutrition, nutritional intake of our people),” he said.

“So kailangan bantayan po natin iyong paraan kung saan ma-ensure po natin na iyong government feeding programs natin bagama’t wala pang face-to-face ay maging matagumpay pa rin at ma-achieve at ma-accomplish natin iyong ating mga targets. (So we must monitor the ways how to ensure the targets of the government feeding programs will be achieved and accomplished despite having no face-to-face classes),” he added.

Nograles, chair of the government’s task force on zero hunger, earlier said the government may have to be “creative” and retool the national feeding programs, including distributing healthy food packs instead of hot meals to school children, given the suspension of physical classes.

In his weekly report to Congress last May, President Duterte said the government is targeting to register five million low income households under the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) by December 2020. The mass registration initiated by Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is expected to begin in October.

“The Philippine Statistics Authority is fast-tracking the full implementation of the Philippine Identification System to improve future targeting and distributing of financial assistance to poor and low-income households,” Duterte said.