Press Release
March 13, 2018

Sponsorship Speech Philippine ID System
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto
13 March 2018

Mr. President:

I have been advocating for a PhilHealth-based national ID card long before I was elected to this body.

Years ago, when the plan to create a national ID system was driven by security concerns, I countered that such an ID will only garner high social acceptability if it will have multiple uses--and will not just be a laminated dog tag.

I said that if the benefits one may derive from using that card are clear to their bearers--like a card that can be used in a medical emergency--then they will be happy carrying it.

As that famous advertisement goes, people will not leave home without it.

And I am happy to note that such concept has been met in the specs of the Philippine ID System proposed in this bill.

I thus congratulate the sponsors for the card's excellent design specifications: free, portable, multi-purpose and safe, in which the inputted information on a citizen will not be divulged, released, sold, leaked, maliciously amended--or the culprit will stay in jail for a long time and pay a high fine.

Mr. President:

At a time when a library of films can be compressed into a device as big as a thumbnail, there is no reason why people should still carry an accordion of ID cards in their wallets.

Under this bill, the proposed card functions as an anti-red tape amulet. By simply waving it, the citizen is given "open sesame" powers in many government offices.

It can be used to apply for loans with GSIS, pay SSS dues, and take out a housing mortgage from Pag-IBIG.

It can be used to apply for a driver's license, or renew a passport, or pay taxes. And during elections, presenting it is enough for one to cast his vote.

It can be used to access state services, or for admission in government institutions--whether in college to study, or in a hospital for treatment.

It can be used to open bank accounts, purchase goods and similar commercial activities which require the establishment of one's identity.

Mr. President:

With the promise this ID holds, I could only hope for its faster roll out. To achieve this, we must anticipate implementation problems on three areas:

First, if local governments will serve as registration sites, then perhaps some sort of assistance must be given them, specifically those with understaffed and underequipped Local Civil Registrar's Office.

But this can be addressed in the 2019 budget.

Second, if an estimated 4 million Filipinos do not have a birth certificate, which is identified as the basic supporting document for registration, then the provision allowing the presentation of alternative proofs of identity should be made clear to government offices involved in registration.

Third, it should be conveyed clearly that during the period of registration, failure to possess a card does not deprive a citizen of government service.

Mr. President:

There were two dominant schools of thought promoting the national ID. There is the security community who believes that it can aid in policing. There are our economic managers who think that such an ID will plug the leaks in the use of government services.

Sa madaling salita, security and savings po ang peg nila.

To these, the Senate injected a third and better perspective: Service, a card that will serve the people.

Maraming salamat po.

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