Phl the most ID-ied country

By | July 9, 2017

A few years back, there was a forum held at the Ateneo de Manila University where one of the speakers talked about how Filipinos seemed to be untrustworthy. Proof of that, the speaker who is a political science professor noted, are the requirements in many official transactions to show or provide at least two government-issued identification (ID) cards.

In many cases, the drivers’ license cards are among the acceptable ID cards. The other would be either a Social Security System (SSS) card, for private sector workers, or the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) card for government employees.

And as SSS and GSIS members, another set of ID cards are issued by the PhilHealth and the Pag-Ibig. That’s why, they came up in 2010 with the Unified Multi-Purpose ID card, UMID for short, that gives the holder of the ID a single set of ID number for all SSS/GSIS/Pag-Ibig and PhilHealth. It is not, however, compulsory or mandatory to secure UMID.

The new UMID being released by the SSS (as of April 2017) uses a contactless smart chip technology that stores member’s SSS information and biometrics data such as fingerprints, facial image and signature. Thus, according to the SSS, aside from identification purposes, the UMID card can be used in withdrawing benefits and loans proceeds from automatic teller machines (ATMs) if the holder enrolls it.

Another alternative ID card would be the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)-issued card on Taxpayers Identification Number (TIN). For the more fortunate ones who got their voters’ ID card from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), it is also among the acceptable government-issued ID cards.

While many Filipinos still do not have their voters’ ID card, Comelec chairman Andres Bautista wants to pilot-test an “enhanced voters’ ID” for all registered voters in the National Capital Region. The Comelec have approved the budget for three million voters’ IDs worth P150 million, or P50 for each ID.

Or, for P400, you can secure a Postal Card from the PhilPost. Generally, banks and other financial institutions honor the postal ID as proof of identity in their transactions.

The latest government-issued ID cards now include the senior citizens’ card, the persons with disability card, and the 4P’s card, or Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) card.

To do away with so many government-issued cards, there are renewed initiatives to have one national ID per Filipino instead.

Last week, the Department of Finance (DOF) announced the government is set to allocate a budget of P2 billion to finally roll out starting next year the national ID card system. That is, if the proposed national ID card system is approved into law by the 17th Congress.

According to the DOF, the fund for the national ID system is already provided for under the proposed 2018 budget that President Rodrigo Duterte would submit to lawmakers when he delivers his second state of the nation address (SONA) on July 24.

As soon as the President and the Cabinet approve it, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno earlier disclosed, the proposed 2018 budget bill would be given to lawmakers on SONA day itself. Diokno cited this is the first time it would happen even as the DBM is required by our country’s Constitution 30 days after the opening of sessions to submit the budget bill.

Given such timetable, DOF Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua boldly announced the government would be able to implement the national ID system starting January next year. Chua cited 105 million Filipinos could benefit from the national ID card system they target to fully implement by year 2020.

Initially for 2018, Chua revealed, the DBM inserted P2 billion and for 2019, an additional budget would be provided to finish the national ID card system within the two-year period.

The House committee on population and family relations approved last June 2 the proposed bill seeking the establishment of the national ID card system. The Senate, on the other hand, has yet to approve its counterpart bill.

Once the bill is passed into law, Chua said the issuance of the national IDs would be done in batches, with senior citizens and persons with disabilities the first to receive their IDs. The next recipients are those belonging to the 5.2 million poorest households in the country not yet covered by the ongoing CCT, also called 4P’s or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

According to Chua, the national ID would contain biometrics data to determine if an individual can enjoy subsidies, discounts and tax exemptions under the law. As added feature, the DOF is also planning to include an EMV (Europay-Mastercard-Visa) chip to load cash subsidies for persons legally entitled to such benefits.

The DOF is pushing for the issuance of a national ID card as a complementary measure to the government’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, which is contained in House Bill 5636, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act, or the TRAIN bill. For obvious reasons, the government hopes the national ID card system could help trace and capture all taxable Filipinos to the BIR’s tax net.

Efforts in the past congresses to pass into law the proposed national ID card system in the Philippines has met stiff objection, especially from left-leaning groups. They fear the national ID card system is a strong-arm attempt by the State to curtail and flush out members of the underground communist movement.

Apparently, they associate the proposed national ID card system to the strong advocates and proponents of this measure who were once top security officials in the country, including Senators Panfilo Lacson, Gregorio Honasan and Antonio Trillanes IV among them.

Now, even Central Luzon police director Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino had proposed issuing special identification cards to Muslims from Mindanao who have become residents of the region. Aquino justified issuing ID cards to local Muslims as something to enable authorities to identify peace-loving and law-abiding Muslims against their Islamic brothers linked to terrorist groups. Seriously?

We already have all these kinds of IDs in the Philippines, making us perhaps the most ID’ied country in the world. A single, national ID perhaps wouldn’t hurt.

Source: PhilStar Global

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