Lacson upbeat on passage of nat’l ID system bill next year

MANILA -- Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday said that he felt like there is a big chance that his proposed national identification system bill would be passed during the first quarter of next year.

Lacson told reporters the bill has been passed on third and final reading in the House of Representatives while the Senate is currently deliberating on it.

Next week, Lacson said he will call for another hearing to listen to oppositors and come up with a committee report by January next year.

Give or take, it can be passed (in the Senate) on second and third reading during the first quarter next year, Lacson said in an interview after a hearing on the proposed national ID system.

Lacson, meanwhile, said that if passed, it would take more than five years for the national ID system to be fully implemented in the Philippines.

He pointed out that because India and Indonesia took five years to implement their national ID system, he expected the Philippines to take longer but noted that it will depend on the technology available.

The senator said that the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will be tasked to provide a unique national reference number to each individual, and the reference card shall be tamper-proof.

PSA earlier suggested to doing biometrics start from scratch.

Lacson, however, suggested that he is looking at consolidating data from other agencies such as the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, Commission and Elections, and Land Transportation Office.

These agencies have already captured the biometrics of so many Filipinos, so many -- millions. Maybe they can consolidate, integrate to save, Lacson said.

He also said that the PSA is looking at consulting the World Bank on new technologies that could help make the data-gathering system easier. However, Lacson said that it may cost some USD45-60 million (PHP 3 billion).

Lacson has also pushed for a national ID system in previous Congresses to record and provide a single official identification for all citizens and foreign residents of the Philippines.

The system shall assign a national reference number to each citizen and foreign resident, together with a national reference card.

His proposed measure seeks to make it easier to identify the real poor and give them free hospitalization and other assistance.

Aside from efficient delivery of social services, it will also prevent crime, terrorism, and insurgency and ease transacting business with the government as well as private entities.

Information in the National Reference Card will include the Reference Number, full name, permanent address, date, and place of birth, signature, a photograph of the individual, blood type, and next of kin of the owner. It should also be capable of storing the biometric data of the individual.

"The Card shall serve as the only official identification of the person to whom it is issued and shall be valid, accepted and honored, upon presentation, in any transaction requiring the identity, status, birth and other personal circumstance," Lacson said in his bill.

Source: Philippine News Agency