PSA: Nat’l ID mass registration to continue despite lack of funds

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 12, 2019   •   502

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said the mass registration for the national ID system will continue despite the lack of funds.

According to the PSA, they might not reach the target number of Filipinos that will be registered by next year due to limited funds.

The PSA said the P5.7 billion budget is needed by next year.

Meanwhile, they are still confirming if the allocated budget for the Philippine Identification System (Philsys) is only around P3 billion in the 2020 proposed national budget.

“Kasi pinakita na doon sa mga senators ang magiging effect kapag ito lang ang budget versus kapag binigay ng buo ang budget na hinihingi ng Philsys. So kapag medyo maliit, may delay sa registration (We already showed the senators the possible effect between the limited budget versus the budget requested by Philsys. So if the budget is limited, there will be a delay in the registration) which we do not want to happen,” according to Atty. Lourdines dela Cruz, deputy national statistician of the Philsys Registry Office.

Nevertheless, the PSA assured that they will continue with the program where they target to register over 100 million Filipinos by mid-2020.—AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Recto fears lack of fund may derail nat’l ID system 2020 implementation

Robie de Guzman   •   November 19, 2019

Senator Ralph Recto (File)

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto on Tuesday expressed fears that the implementation of the national identification system next year might be derailed due to lack of funds.

In a statement, Recto disclosed that no funding has been allocated for the project in the “programmed portion” of the proposed national budget for next year.

“For 2020, there is zero funding for the project in the “programmed portion” of the proposed national budget,” he said.

“What is provided is a P2.4 billion ‘unprogrammed appropriation,’ which, at best, is a tentative allocation dependent if new loans or revenues can be raised,” he added.

Should the P2.4 billion materialize, the senator said only less than half of the total target number of Filipinos or 6.3 million will be registered in the system for 2020.

“But even if the P2.4 billion will materialize, it is only about 42 percent of what is needed to fully meet the project’s objectives and deliverables next year,” Recto said. “So instead of 14 million Filipinos, less than half, or 6.3 million, will be registered in 2020.”

The lawmaker fears this will trigger a domino effect and leave the project’s timetable in shambles.

“The original plan is to enroll 14 million in 2020; 52 million in 2021, including 5 million overseas Filipinos; and 44 million local residents plus 5 million overseas Filipinos in 2022,” he said.

According to Recto, the project’s goal by 2022 is to register 110 million Filipinos and resident aliens, and around 10 million Filipinos abroad in what is officially called the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys).

“To meet this deadline, 4.3 million registrants must be processed every month by the 5,000 registration kits placed in mobile and fixed registration centers,” he said. “But if the critical purchases in the early stage of implementation will not push through for budget lack, then future registration quotas will not be met.”

Recto recalled that when Congress was pressed to pass the national ID law, it was given assurance that funds were available for its implementation.

“That was two years ago when we passed the law certified as urgent by the Palace. During the debates then, we were told that the plan was to cover 100 million people in 4 years,” he said.

“But it now appears that there’s a wide gap between intent and implementation. The proof has always been in the funding. And in the case of the national ID project, it is wanting,” he added.

The PhilSys Act, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2018, seeks to interconnect all government IDs in a single national identification system.

Known as the Phil-ID, it will contain the card holder’s unique PhilSys number, full name as well as facial image, sex, date of birth, blood type, and address. It will also contain the cardholder’s biometric information and iris scan for added security.

PH Inflation further eases to 0.8% in October

Robie de Guzman   •   November 5, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s headline inflation further eased to 0.8 percent in October, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Tuesday.

The PSA said the latest inflation figure is lower than the 0.9 percent recorded in September, and a sharp slide compared to the 6.7 percent in October 2018.

October’s inflation rate is the slowest in more than three years, bringing the year-to-date inflation to 2.6 percent.

Inflation means the rate of increase in prices of goods and services.

National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the downtrend in the latest inflation was primarily due to the annual drop in the index of the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as transportation costs.

Slower increases in rates of water, housing, gas, electricity, and other fuels were also noted, as well as in household equipment and routine maintenance, and health and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services.

Mapa added that rice prices also maintained its year-on-year decline, with a 9.7 percent drop for the six-straight month, while transport expenses also settled lower compared to last year.

Data from the PSA also showed that inflation was higher in Metro Manila where prices of basic commodities increased by 1.3 percent. Prices in regions, meanwhile, moved slower in an average of 0.7 percent.

Malacañang welcomed the slower inflation rate but assured it will continue to monitor the prices of basic commodities especially during the holiday season.

“As inflation continues to drop, the current government will continue to not let its guard down in monitoring the prices of basic commodities, especially now that we are in the ber months, approaching Christmas season,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) also welcomed the latest inflation rate, attributing it to the government’s drive and focus in its anti-inflationary efforts this year.

“We hope to further keep inflation manageable and within the government’s target,” NEDA Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and Undersecretary for Regional Development Adoracion Navarro said in a separate statement.

She, however, warned that the country must be in the lookout for upside risks such as cases of African Swine Fever (ASF), which have been observed so far in Rizal, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Cavite, and Quezon City.

“The livestock industry in the said ASF-stricken areas, which accounts for 21.7 percent of the country’s total hog production last year, remains at high risk. The government and private companies must collaborate to manage, contain, and control the spread of the disease,” Navarro said.

She also urged meat processing plants to enforce more stringent bio-security measures, and expand and place quarantine checkpoints and disinfection facilities in key gateways such as seaports, airports, and expressways.

Bangko Sentral to produce cards for PH nat’l IDs

Robie de Guzman   •   October 8, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has announced it will produce the 116 million blank cards to be used by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) for the implementation of the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys).

The BSP said it has signed a memorandum of agreement with the PSA on Monday for the production of the cards.

Under the agreement, the BSP will be supplying the cards for “Phil IDs” that are non-transferable to be issued to all Philippine citizens or resident aliens registered under the PhilSys.

BSP will also provide the necessary equipment and space for the embedding of personal information on to the blank cards to be done by the PSA.

The PSA’s roles under the deal, on the other hand, will include managing the PhilSys database, ensuring the availability, confidentiality, integrity, accuracy and readiness of the data that will be placed in the cards, as well as the undertaking of the personalization, quality checking and the distribution of the national IDs.

Republic Act 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in August 2018, mandates the establishment of the PhilSys for all Filipinos and foreigners who reside in the country.

The PSA is the law’s primary implementing agency.

The law seeks to harmonize, integrate and interconnect the redundant government-issued IDs by establishing a unified ID system.

The national ID will contain the cardholder’s PhilSys number and full name as well as facial image, sex, date of birth, blood type, and address; biometric information, including fingerprints, iris scan, will also be in the card.

Information on marital status, mobile number and email address will be optional.

The BSP said producing the blank cards for the national IDs will cost the PSA around P3.4 billion or P30 per piece. The central bank also assured that the cards will have optical variable security and other features required by the PSA.

The cards will be provided free to citizens.

The PSA earlier said that by 2022, around 100 million cards will be issued to Filipinos and resident aliens.

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