Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto on Wednesday said the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys), commonly known as national ID system, is beneficial in emergency response and crisis management such as the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Contact tracing will be much easier with the national ID system,” Sotto said in a virtual press conference hosted by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP).
In Pasig, Sotto said the local government uses the list of the city’s registered voters as it provides complete data of the residents who are given emergency assistance amid the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
Sotto, however, said the problem is the unregistered voters but living in the city.
“I don’t think that’s right, because if you are a voter you get benefits but if you are not a voter you don’t get benefits,” he said.
He said national ID system will address the problem of identifying the recipients of the government assistance as it provides complete information of the beneficiaries.
Sotto said he personally supports the national ID implementation despite fear of “privacy issue”.
“I think a lot of fear is misplaced, and I would really support the national ID system. We would be able to implement the crisis management and address the issues much easier,” he said.
“As long as it [national ID] is secured, and it’s encrypted properly and all the necessary security measures are in there, there will be no problem in the privacy,” he added.
In August 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) 11055 or the PhilSys Act which mandates the issuance of national identification cards (IDs) to all Filipino citizens.
The law also aims to create a single official identification card for all citizens that would interconnect government-issued IDs.
On Tuesday, newly-appointed acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the government aims to have five million Filipinos enrolled into the PhilSys ID this year and possibly complete the registration of the entire population by 2022.
He said accelerating the implementation of the national ID system is among the “marching orders” of Malacañang to him upon his appointment as acting secretary of NEDA.
He added that Congress passed the National ID Law which will allow the country to implement its social welfare programs more effectively and efficiently in the near future. (PNA)