By Hannah Torregoza
The Senate on Tuesday ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed law establishing a Philippine Identification System.
The bill, which has been languishing in the legislative for three decades, has been considered a priority legislation of the Duterte administration. The consolidated version of the measure would be transmitted to Malacañang immediately for the President’s signature.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, who chairs the Senate committee on public order, authored and sponsored the measure, has sought passage of the measure since 2001 and had been taken up by Congress during the terms of former Presidents Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Benigno Aquino III.
“This is a landmark legislation because it is only under the administration of President Duterte that this was approved,” Lacson had said during interviews.
Lacson earlier said the House of Representatives agreed to adopt the Senate version with minor amendments.
Senator Risa Hontiveros was the only senator who manifested her dissent on the proposed national ID system citing the possible threat to basic human rights.
Lacson has sought to allay fears raised against the national ID saying that the card will only hold basic details of an individual such as name, birthdate, address, gender, photograph, and biometrics—all of which are already asked by government agencies that issue IDs or other documents.
Cardholders availing of the national ID would be given a unique Common Reference Number (CRN).
The card, Lacson said, can be presented to all branches of government, and even private institutions, making transactions more convenient for citizens.
Initial allocation for the implementation of the law is P25-billion with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) as the implementing agency.
“At the very least, business transactions will be very convenient once we have a national ID,” Lacson said of the measure.
“You don’t have to present at least two government IDs, you can just use one ID, the national ID,” he stressed.