Press Release
July 23, 2006

Adopt the health insurance card as national ID - Recto

The health insurance ID offers the template of least resistance to the impending implementation of the national ID system, said Sen. Ralph Recto.

"Millions of Filipinos who are member-beneficiaries and carry the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS) and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) are satisfied. For them the card is a bill of benefits more than a surrender of personal information ."

"The government would incur savings by using the existing national health insurance ID system as the national ID template. Contributions of the LGUs for indigents and local government employees are mainly funded by earmarked allocations in several revenue laws," Recto explained.

"If we plan on making at least 25 milliion Filipinos satisfied with fast delivery of health care and other basic services, this is one sure way of doing it."

"They would not be in pain giving out personal information if that represents our pledge that request for services willl be responded to quickly. A request will not be lost in a pile or in a maze of signatures and clearances."

Currently, the health insurance card are issued only to government employees and indigents enrolled by their local governments. the initial targets for coverage of the national ID are 25 million coverd by the SSS, PHIC cards and 1.3 million members of the GSIS.

"With benefits as the main feature of the Unified Multi-Purpose Identification System (UMPIS), Filipinos will be more receptive in the pilot-testing scheduled late this year."

With the Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of Executive Order 420, the government is poised to collect a lot of personal information that up to now many resist. the card will have a Common Reference Number and 14 pieces of information, as follows: name, address, sex, a picture, a signature, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, name of parents, height, weight, biometric data from two index fingers and both thumbs, any distinguishing marks and tax identification number. "We may then have to look on just a few refinements before the roll-out of national IDs to 50 million Fillipinos who are 18 years old and above.

"Although this is on a voluntary basis, a health package is very hard to resist Whether the information will be embedded in a barcode, a chip or magnetic strip, that ID will be prized."

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