By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang assured that President Duterte will sign the bill seeking to establish the Philippine Identification (ID) system.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement that the Palace welcomes the approval by the bicameral conference committee of the.
He added that Malacañang finds the recent development a good news as this seeks to improve the delivery of services to the people.
“We welcome the approval of the National ID System by the House and Senate bicameral conference committee,” he said Thursday afternoon.
“This landmark bill is part of the legislative priority agenda of the Duterte administration to improve the delivery of government services; thus, once ratified, the President will sign this into law,” he added.
The bicameral committee approved the Senate version of the bill Tuesday night. According to Senator Panfilo Lacson, only minor amendments were made to Senate Bill 1738 or the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) Act of 2018.
“They agreed to adopt the Senate version with minor amendments. May suggestion sila. Basta substantially Senate version yan (They have suggestions. But, substantially it is the Senate version),” Lacson said.
In March this year, Roque said he believes that President Duterte will most likely sign the bill due to the overwhelming support for a national ID system.
“I believe so because, in the last Cabinet meeting, there was an overwhelming consensus for the need for the national ID system,” the Palace official responded when asked if the President will approve the law.
“And there’s already a budget allotted in the 2018 national budget for the national ID,” he added.
Duterte, during his visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last year, addressed the desire of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for the Philippines to have a national identification system just like in Saudi Arabia. He said then that it would be “good” to have a national ID in the country.
The proposed Filipino Identification System will consolidate all government-issued ID systems into one to improve government services and limit red tape in government transactions. It is also seen to lower costs, streamline transactions, and provide ease and convenience.
The first time it was proposed was during the time of former President Fidel Ramos in 1996 through Administrative Order 308 but was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC).
In 2005, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo mandated government agencies, through Executive Order 420, to streamline and harmonize their ID systems under a Unified Multi-Purpose Identification System. The SC this time upheld the legality of the said EO.
However, the opposition to the proposal revolves around the perceived threat to security and violation of privacy by the government’s collection of personal information.