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

Robie de Guzman   •   November 19, 2019   •   130

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.

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

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 12, 2019

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 wants gov’t workers’ performance-based bonus tax-free

Robie de Guzman   •   November 18, 2019

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President pro-tempore Ralph Recto said he has filed a bill seeking to exempt from income tax the performance-based bonus (PBB) being given to government personnel.

Under Senate Bill No. 602, Recto proposes to exclude the PBB from the computation of taxable income under the law, arguing that its monetary value which was formulated as an effective reward for exemplary work has been reduced.

“Government is a machine whose parts should move in unison towards the attainment of its strategic goals as reflected in its development plans. This machinery is judged by the people through its outputs in terms of delivery of goods and services,” he said in a statement.

“However, the best-crafted strategic development plans will be for naught if civil servants who will implement these are not inspired and committed to achieve the plans,” he added.

The senator said the measure seeks to amend Section 32 (B) (7) of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 by including the PBB in the miscellaneous items excluded from the computation of gross income tax.

He added that in order to serve as a meaningful reward for employees who walked the extra mile towards the attainment of agency goals, the bonus must be granted in full amount.

“The bill could likewise serve as a motivational tool for agencies and employees rated ‘poor’ to improve their performance,” he said.

Aside from the performance-based bonus, the government also grants a P5,000 across-the-board Productivity Enhancement Incentive (PEI) to all government employees.

Both the PEI and the PBB are granted to employees as an incentive to improve productivity in the public sector.

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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