Need for national ID underscored

NOW is the perfect time to implement the National ID system.

One of the proponents, Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones, made this proposal to the government stressing that the National ID system will be used for easy distribution of financial aid.

Aragones said the National ID system would allow government to rapidly and efficiently distribute financial aid to its most vulnerable citizens.

The chairperson of the House Committee on Tourism is one of the principal authors of Republic Act No. 11055, or the Philippine Identification System Act.

A comprehensive database of the country's population would allow the government to immediately identify those that would be entitled to emergency aid or subsidies such as those being given to underprivileged families during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) now in place in Luzon to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

"One of the challenges confronting the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and local government units is coming up with a comprehensive list of beneficiaries in their respective areas," she said.

The National ID system could help drastically reduce the time being spent to identify, assess, and validate the list of beneficiaries. For marginalized sectors, financial aid delayed is tantamount to financial aid denied.

Aragones pointed out that the immediate release of emergency subsidies to beneficiaries of the government's 4Ps program shows the advantages of having a comprehensive database of the country's population.

The DSWD has reported that all Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries with cash cards have already received their emergency subsidies under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) Bayanihan Fund: Tulong Laban sa COVID-19.

Out of the total number of 4Ps beneficiaries, more than 3.6 million with cash cards nationwide have been provided with their subsidies. As for 4Ps beneficiaries who have yet to receive their cash cards, funds have already been downloaded to DSWD regional offices to facilitate the immediate payment of the said subsidies.

"Kung may National ID tayo, magagamit na rin ang system hindi lang kung may national emergency tayo tulad nitong COVID-19 outbreak, magagamit din natin ito sa mga localized disaster response efforts," explained the lawmaker.

Aragones said that it would be very challenging for the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) to complete the roll-out during this ECQ. However, when the lockdown is lifted, it should go full-force and all-out to implement and execute the National ID System.