THE GOVERNMENT expects the national ID to hurdle the Senate next week ahead of its adjournment.
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said on Wednesday that he was optimistic about the approval after the bill entered the plenary deliberation stage.
“Senate deliberation will continue this week, I’m hopeful that the bill will be passed into law as early as next week,” Mr. Diokno said during a press conference yesterday.
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson sponsored Senate Bill No. 1738 on Monday, saying that the measure would enhance the delivery of government services as it eliminates other forms of identification when transacting business.
Mr. Lacson has said that his target for the bill’s approval is within the first quarter.
In a social media post yesterday, Mr. Lacson said: “The days of multiple ID’s in our wallets are numbered. It’s only a matter of time for Filipinos to have a valid proof of identity as a means to simplify public and private transactions.”
A counterpart bill in the House of Representatives was approved in September.
Mr. Diokno said that the ID will have more advanced security features and includes biometric data. A total of P2 billion has been allotted for the development of the system by a third-party contractor together with the Department of Information and Communications Technology but will be rolled out by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Mr. Diokno said that he is “confident” that the system will be up and running within the year.
“Some people do not get services because they do not have any ID. This is long overdue many countries have done this… we need this,” he said.
The Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council identified the measure as “urgent” in August.
The national ID system is a key component of the plan to make unconditional cash transfers to low-income families affected by higher prices from the tax reform program, with reliable ID helping ensure the benefits will go only to those entitled to them.
The P24.5 billion for the cash transfers has been released by DBM to Land Bank of the Philippines for distribution, Mr. Diokno said it will no longer wait for the enactment of the national ID before the funds are mobilized. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan